December 26, 2011
D: Gary Marshall. DP: Charles Minsky. W: Katherine Fugate. Starring: Michelle Pfieffer/Sarah Jessica Parker/Zac Efron/Ashton Kutcher/Lea Michelle/Josh Duhamel/Hilary Swank/Robert De Niro/Halle Berry/Jessica Biel/Seth Meyers/Sarah Paulson/Carla Gugino/Cary Ewes/Katherine Heigel/Sofia Vergara/Jon Bon Jovi/Abigail Breslin/Hector Elizando.
Continuing the theme of 2010′s Valentine’s Day, Gary Marshall provides a holiday film of anthology stories meant to warm the heart and theater seats. And one would think with a cast list this long that something interesting would come of the project. Rather, one would hope.
New Year’s Eve is all it claims to be. Sparkly, naive, and thankfully over before things get too mushy. Having been dragged to see this rather reluctantly, I was a tad surprised at the moments I did laugh and the ones that did make me verbally say “aw.” Than I quickly sunk lower in my chair hoping that no one else I knew would witness my travesty. That being said, no one will be blind enough not to notice the swarmy gloss of Hollywood all over New Year’s Eve. Every character appears like an archetype, playing into some one dimensional character merely meant to conveniently link together as part of the whole film. The characters act out like basic casting descriptions, rebellious teenager, over worked, out of sync, and negelectant of herself mother, jilted fiance, older man dying alone, wanna-be singer and the list could go on.
Clearly this mash-up romantic holiday comedy serves a purpose in the greater scheme of cinematic reach. But is it a good purpose? It has and will continue to bring in money, but I must ask why people go see it? Although the film verbally recognizes the pressure of the new years eve night and how it never lives up to its hype, it does nothing to persuade its characters to do anything but buy into the celebration. Is that why people see the film? To buy into the Hollywood concept? Into the unrealistic romantic comedy world? Or for the simple joy of seeing something easy and friendly? Sadly the box office numbers don’t every reveal reasoning.
Sadly nothing of worth can be said of any of the performances, the script or the films style. Gary Marshall merely cuts another film from his drapes and teaches it to sing the same song. It may have some sweet moments, but the homogenized cast and story lines are so overdone that they are soon forgotten. Now all that is left is a countdown until the next anthology movie of Marshall’s is released. Let’s all just hope it’s not something like “Presidents Day” or “Arbor Day.”