New Year’s Eve (2011)

Having already lived happily ever after with every other member of the cast at some point or other, Katherine Heigl stops stuffing her face with truffles long enough to forgive Bon Jovie’s once-cold feet in time for her New Year’s kiss. Across the city, Hilary Swank spends her evening giving motivational speeches and coordinating confetti; Halle Berry airs her concerned face while loading up Skype; Zac Efron has a bit of a dance while trying to comfort Michelle Pfeifer for being old; Sarah Jessica Parker tracks down a horse-drawn cart in designer shoes after failing to be a mother; Lea Michelle escapes a lift in time to do a televised sing song; and Jessica Beil stops competing against pregnant people for money long enough to pull a pair of Valentine’s Day DVDs out of her vagina. Backstage, meanwhile, a bunch of poorly drawn foreigners mispronounce words and generally display their inherent inferiority all in the name of comic relief.

Imagine every base-level romantic comedy you’ve seen in the last 10 years. Now imagine watching them all again, at once, without any of the pleasure – however guilty – and all of the bits that make you wish you could swallow your own face. New Year’s Eve, as much of a kick in the expectations as the film’s namesake itself, is just as detestable as it sounds, with a bunch of TV actors and actresses fretting at great, great length about the dysfunctional state of the FAMOUS Times Square ball. The ball. The ball which must drop, or every single person on the planet will invariably have the worst night of their ludicrously interlinked lives. Because Robert De Niro will have died in vein. Or something.

Should you find it slightly problematic that the entirety of a film’s jeopardy might rest on a giant disco light successfully falling a hundred feet on cue, then tough luck as  there is precisely nothing else on offer in Gary Marshall’s latest pat on the back in which to invest any emotion. Again and again we are told that the happiness of “the other half” – otherwise known as Her From That Thing – is more important than that of ‘normal’ people – the kind who own campervans and actually have to work for a living – while a series of increasingly spoilt mannequins wait for midnight. The main characters in this movie are so far removed from recognisable humanity – competing with another pregnant couple for the hospital’s cash prize for its first delivery of the year or leaving her dad to die alone so that she can give a speech about ‘The Important Things In Life’ – that not even Michelle Pfeiffer or Robert De Niro can breathe any reputability into its bloated frame.

This is more a piece of marketing than it is a movie, with Marshall not even making the effort to tie it into the same reality as his similarly deplorable Valentine’s Day. These characters do not grow, develop or even travel particularly far – except of course Josh Duhamel, who spends his entire journey awaiting pizza-induced inspiration (deep!) for a speech which ultimately lasts all of thirteen seconds – instead opting uniformly to learn one of those life-lessons that the rest of us learned at the age of 6. As if their own pathetic dilemmas weren’t insipid enough (“can I ever forgive the rich megastar who left before I could even cook him a meal in our new apartment?”), they are inexplicably tied together through contrivances that make the last act of Crazy, Stupid, Love look obvious and completely believable.

With dire performances, a self-congratulatorally indulgent narrative and jokes that are almost (but importantly not even) hysterically unfunny, New Year’s Eve is to cinema what the ball drop is apparently to New Yorkers: a hollow and desperately sad piece of pig-ignorant Americana that you can feel actively sucking the splendour out of life, one cameo at a time.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

3 Responses to New Year’s Eve (2011)

  1. CMrok93 says:

    Good review. I was pleasantly surprised that I actually enjoyed myself with this flick, even though I do feel like Garry Marshall didn’t really try to do anything with all of these stars instead of just have them show up and do something. Still, a fun film that is a crowd-pleaser for sure. Check out my review when you get the chance.

  2. Pingback: Fails of the Year – 2011 « popcornaddict

  3. Pingback: December 2011 – I Agree It’s Not My Best Disguise. « popcornaddict

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