New Year’s Eve

24 Dec

Title: New Year’s Eve
Year: 2011
Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Katherine Fugate
Starring: James Belushi, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Hector Elizondo, Cary Elwes, Carla Gugino, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Seth Meyers, Alyssa Milano, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Til Schweiger, Ryan Seacrest, Yeardley Smith, Hilary Swank, Sofía Vergara
MPAA Rating: PG-13, language including some sexual references
Runtime: 118 min
IMDb Rating: 5.0
Rotten Tomatoes: 7%
Metacritic: 22

 

Well, there was never really any doubt that New Year’s Eve would be a bad film, was there? I gave last year’s Valentine’s Day, which inspired this type of film made out of vignettes depicting several romances, a lousy C-, and this one is even worse. You looked at the trailers and the posters of it and they were just awful, counting on the huge ensemble of stars to make for the lack of any actual plot. Because the ensemble here is pretty damn talented, even if every single one does absolutely nothing worth considering acting here; you have Robert De Niro and Hilary Swank here who are two-time Oscar winners (though both are actors that for the past few years have done absolutely nothing decent), you have Halle Berry, another Oscar winner, and Abigail Breslin and Michelle Pfeiffer who are nominees, not to mention every other actor that has headlined a rom-com in the past decade, including, of course, Katherin Heigl. But it’s as though the film has assembled these guys for absolutely no reason whatsoever other than to have a lot of names to throw in a poster, because this film is just incredibly shallow and clichéd.

It’s just a horrible film to withstand, made from not so much a screenplay as just little blocks of action that follow the most basic screenwriting rules by the letter, one interconnected to the next, switching storylines every so often in order to make way for the latest celebrity of the roster to appear, collect a paycheck and leave, guiding us through stuff that’s supposedly funny but never even comes close except for those times in which you laugh at how bad it is, and then being just horribly sappy, trying to manipulate smiles and tears out of us, and failing at it. The fact that people are consuming this stuff, that we are the ones giving the money to fund those paychecks is just dumb, though thankfully this one’s barely made back its budget of $56 million, unlike Valentine’s Day which made over $215 million. So maybe people are learning, maybe we won’t get a Thanksgiving Day movie in 2012.

It’s still quite sad to watch, though. I mean, it’s really bad that you have so many stars in one movie and have them do absolutely nothing, this is just a cliché dumped on top of another one, and it hurts to see that Robert De Niro is doing stuff like this, he should just pick up the phone and call Marty, get himself back on track. I mean, really, you can’t care even a tiny bit about whether Seth Meyers’ baby will be 2012’s firstborn at the hospital his wife is in; or whether Katherine Heigl will forgive Jon Bon Jovi who already offended Lea Michele’s character by confusing her for a groupie and not a backup singer and now she’s stuck in an elevator with Ashton Kutcher, probably not making it to the big midnight perfroamnce; there’s Sarah Jessica Parker being overprotective of her daughter Abigail Breslin and not wanting her to spend midnight at Times Square; the aforementioned Mr. De Niro as a dying man who’s nursed by Halle Berry and who wants to see the ball drop on Times Square one last time. The fact that I used the actors names is mostly because I don’t even remember the name of any character.

Every little thing about this film is bad, and makes me think less of everyone involved in it as they try to make us believe that New Year’s is really the best night of the year in which there’s apparently not one really visible drunk. That’s kind of a thing about this film, everything is just peachy, there’s no hardship, people all look pretty happy, Times Square really looks like the place to be even though it’s probably not at all, and you just know that even Robert De Niro will get his happy ending and watch the ball drop one last time from the hospital rooftop. Everything is just horribly cheesy here, and you really do get the impression that it’s just a lot of famous people asked to smile, say some lines without an ounce of believability (both because of their lack of trying and the horrible script), look and sometimes kiss the other beautiful person standing in front of them, grab a bite and then get paid.

Avoid New Year’s Eve, that’s my best advice. It’s just a horrible film that plays it awfully safe and that kind of disrespects us an audience to be honest; there’s no real dialogue and no one here is encouraged to even try to act, which may be why Ryan Seacrest, who’s a TV host and not an actor, fares better in this film than one of the all-time greats, Mr. De Niro. There’s not a frame of this film that I can recommend, it’s just a display of schmaltz, everyone looks happy with their hats sponsored by Nivea, and not a single line of dialogue with even a hint of substance being uttered.

Grade: D

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