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New Year's Eve

2011-12-09 18:34
 
What it's about:

Some of the most famous actors in Hollywood come together to tackle matters of the heart while preparing for the year's biggest party on New Year's Eve in Manhattan.

What we thought:

Believe it or not, New Year's Eve has much in common with The Tourist - that snooze-fest "thriller" released earlier this year with prancing ponies Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp. In both cases there is a glamorous, star-heavy cast where a some decent writing should be.

Only the think tank behind such ensemble pieces like New Year's Eve, and director Garry Marshal's previous holiday dud Valentine's Day, are of the mind that the latter just does not matter. Therefore New Year's Eve offers an onslaught of all these familiar and (mostly) likable faces, popping in for short but frequent bursts to tell of their New Year's dilemma before giving way to yet another celebrity cameo.

It is hard work keeping up with New Year's Eve's many plots - and very few of them are worth remarking on. They're all tied together by this supposedly universal idea that we're meant to be with the ones we love when the clock strikes midnight, heralding in a new year. And there's no place quite like New York City in which to make the most of this occasion. The traditional ball-drop ceremony (not nearly as exciting as it sounds) on Times Square forms the centre around which the many plot strands intertwine.

Hilary Swank plays Claire - in her first year as the person responsible for the ball-drop she is run ragged by the pressures of the job when things go wrong, but somehow musters a perfectly rousing speech, that not even Barack Obama could have managed off the cuff, to the millions of expectant faces looking her way.

Elsewhere, romantic comedy staple Sarah Jessica Parker is a divorced mom battling to keep control of her 15-year-old daughter Abigail Breslin, who just wants to spend the night with her friends and perhaps kiss the boy she likes at midnight. Jessica Biel plays a pregnant woman who gets into a contest with another expecting couple for the prize money up for grabs to the first baby born in the new year.

Katherine Heigl plays a chef who discovers that her ex Jon Bon Jovi - playing, what else, but the "biggest music star in the world" - is also the main attraction at the party she is catering. Josh Duhamel spends most of the movie with the least famous faces in the cast as he has to hitch a ride back to NY in time for a very special meeting with a mystery woman he fell for the previous New Year's eve.

And so it goes as all these characters suddenly find themselves in a high stakes race against the clock, quite literally, on the biggest party night of the year. As these tales play out it becomes increasingly clear that the true common thread running through them all is just how frustratingly bland they all are.

Garry Marshal (Pretty Woman, The Princess Diaries) has been doing this type of thing for so long now he has given up entirely in creating a film that showed even a semblance of imagination. I was grateful for pictures that actually showed Marshall on set working with his cast because he could very easily have orchstrated this hot mess from the comfort of his bed.

The cast, three of them Oscar winners, have little option but to play their characters to the hilt - until they resemble shallow caricatures, since they have so little screentime in which to achieve true depth. The only actors who come close to it are Ashton Kutcher, as a recently jilted Scrooge who makes a connection with neighbour Lea Michele when they are stuck in an elevator together, and the delightful Michelle Pfeiffer as Ingrid, a lonely spinster who enlists the spirited Zac Efron to help her achieve all the items on her bucket list before midnight. Only she's not terminally ill. So there's that.

And let's just pretend that that is not Halle Berry and Robert de Niro wasting their precious time and talent for the sake of... well, we can only assume their pay cheques were hard to turn down. Same goes for Sofia Vergara - a gorgeous and intriguing actress who, it appears, was told to play her character exactly as she would on Modern Family. What a shame.

At least Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate do not pretend that New Year's Eve exists solely for its gilded cast. Though the constant barrage of CELEBRITY (those caps are hard-earned) eventually becomes offensive in its cynicism.

That's not to say that New Year's Eve is not at least mildly entertaining. Marshall knows his audience well and has re-created dependably saccharine-sweet rom-com scenarios for them to lose themselves in for just a little while.

New Year's Eve is essentially a very bad day at the office for all concerned. Let's hope Hollywood at least has the good sense to leave "Talk Like a Pirate Day" and "World Sustainable Energy Day" well alone.


Too many celebrities spoil the good times to be had in this cynically orchestrated romantic comedy about the many broken hearts who come together for a good time on New Year's eve in NYC.

NEXT ON CHANNEL24X

Oculus

2014-10-24 10:34

Add Your Review

(Comments may be edited or deleted at the Channel24 editors’ discretion)
Louise 12/12/2011 1:45 PM
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Shaheema Barodien - i can tell you what's boring.... your writing... this movie was great! it's a awesome feel good movie and the end was perfect... I don't think i have read a review were you actually like the movie... i think i should offer myself to do your job, clearly i watch more movies than you and writing isn't boring and predictable!
Vicky Rossouw 12/12/2011 1:47 PM
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I TOTALLY DISAGREE WITH THE WRITER.PLEASE DON'T LISTEN TO THIS CYNICAL REVUE AND GO AND SEE THE MOVIE FOR YOURSELF. IT IS A LOVELY FEELGOOD MOVIE WITH GOOD ACTORS AND YOU WONDER HOW IT WILL END RIGHT UP TO THE END.GOOD MUSIC TOO. THE TYPE OF MOVIE THAT EVERY PERSON NEEDS THIS TIME OF YEAR.
Kyle 12/12/2011 3:12 PM
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Sorry Louise and Vicky, but I haven't seen a decent "mass celeb" movie since Love Actually. I haven't seen New years Day, nor do I plan on watching it, because I've seen movies like these before: Valentine's Day, He's just not that into you. They're very boring, long and the plot is too thin for it to be given a 5 star rating. I think Shaheema's rating is accurate and I'm sure if you look at other professional movie critics rating, you'll probably see they gave it a 2 star rating as well. And Louise, please keep your egomania to yourself. Just because you've seen a lot of movies does not make you reviewer. Shaheema clearly knows what to look for in a movie, you probably don't. Oh and Vicky it's "review" not "revue".
Kyle 12/12/2011 3:12 PM
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Sorry Louise and Vicky, but I haven't seen a decent "mass celeb" movie since Love Actually. I haven't seen New years Day, nor do I plan on watching it, because I've seen movies like these before: Valentine's Day, He's just not that into you. They're very boring, long and the plot is too thin for it to be given a 5 star rating. I think Shaheema's rating is accurate and I'm sure if you look at other professional movie critics rating, you'll probably see they gave it a 2 star rating as well. And Louise, please keep your egomania to yourself. Just because you've seen a lot of movies does not make you reviewer. Shaheema clearly knows what to look for in a movie, you probably don't. Oh and Vicky it's "review" not "revue".
andre 12/12/2011 3:12 PM
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This movie will fail horribly at any time of the year except during the festive season. Great feel good movie and an awesome way to kick off the holiday festivities!! Must watch!!
Marie 12/12/2011 3:15 PM
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I also think that it was an AWESOME movie! Loved It!
Louise 12/12/2011 4:33 PM
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oh i'm sorry kyle..... didn't know that guys like christmasy feel good romcoms..... and my article wouldn't be nearly as boring as this one! Good or bad movie... the review sucks!
Louise 12/12/2011 4:35 PM
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oh and Kyle... it's suck ass not kiss ass! #justsaying
Trish 12/12/2011 6:09 PM
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Awful awful AWFUL film - I didn't connect with any of these silly characters. What a waste of time and money coz I was hoping for a Love Actually type of holiday movie. This review is spot on. Avoid!!
Bert 12/13/2011 8:33 AM
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Wait for the dvd.In comparison with Valentines day and Love Actually a snooze fest.
Lauren 12/13/2011 2:37 PM
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Unfortunately Louise, the main requirement for being a writer is being able to write. Having been unfortunate enough to stumble upon Valentine's Day when it was on TV, I can say that I really don't want to put myself through another Garry Marshall flick which is, essentially, the same plot but on a different day. I'd use caps to highlight that but Vicki frightened me with her enthusiastic use of it. Louise and co, at the very least admit this much: it's the exact same plot as Valentine's Day, just set on a different day. I mean... what's the point? Wouldn't you rather... think?
Justin 12/13/2011 2:52 PM
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Vicky, I'm going out on a limb here, but I think I'll agree with someone who actually knows how to spell 'review'
Ram Nagel 1/12/2012 2:36 PM
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Wow. It seems the only people who could enjoy this movie are women. This explains why all those mindless "women's" magazines sell so well, I suppose. And why drivel like vampire romances top the best seller lists. The sad thing is that even intelligent women often crave this low-brow fare. I guess they are just born that way.
jeanette 2/15/2012 1:45 PM
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I enjoyed this movie.
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