Movie Review: New Year’s Eve

Mike Finkelstein was getting ready for the New Year and needed some inspiration.  Suddenly, he saw previews for a new holiday film that was directed by Garry Marshall and filled to the brim with celebrities.  He decided that that would be his inspiration for the amazing night.  Here is his review of “New Year’s Eve”.

PLOT: The intertwining love and life stories of many, many people on New Year’s Eve, 2011.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  Okay.  I get it.  There is something about the holidays that gives us a certain warm feeling inside.  And on those holidays, there are hundreds of stories about love and life and happiness to tell.  But damn it, when you try to cram in every one of those stories into a single movie, it just doesn’t work.

NEW YEAR’S EVE is Garry Marshall’s unofficial sequel for VALENTINE’S DAY…a film seemingly created when studio execs ate the ensemble concept of PARIS, JE T’AIME, digested it twice over, and crapped out a movie.  Yes, Marshall probably had his heart in the right place: tell a bunch of love stories to get across the real feelings behind the holiday, but it was too overwhelming for its own good.  And despite all the criticism and bad reviews, someone up there decided that NEW YEAR’S EVE would be a good idea.

Let’s count the issues, shall we?

First, NEW YEAR’S EVE attempts to tell no less than a dozen stories in a two-hour block, and with that, tells absolutely no story at all.  It’s ridiculous to think that these characters could possibly learn a lesson or end up for the better when they’re on screen for barely fifteen minutes each.  Oh, and when you’re on screen for that little amount of time, you could count on an absurd amount of clichéd lines and exposition as the writers desperately try to flesh out characters.

To add to that, all those underdeveloped characters I mentioned are played by the who’s who list of Hollywood celebrity.  Robert DeNiro Jon Bon Jovi, Ludacris, Hilary Swank, Lea Michelle, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer (wtf?), Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, and many many more are all roped into the film.  (I couldn’t stop smiling at the irony of seeing Cary Elwes as DeNiro’s doctor…kept thinking he was going to yell out “Game Over!”)  I don’t know if they signed deals with the devil, or just couldn’t resist a paycheck, but seriously…what the hell are they all doing in here?  The script sucks, the parts are barely there, and when every single actor is a highly paid celebrity, it’s kind of hard to think of them as real people and not just a bunch of rich friends going “Look!  We could make a movie together, get paid, and people will see it!  Tee hee!”

Next up: all the lessons.  A holiday movie usually gives us one or two big lessons to take home with us.  Not here.  Every five seconds, we have a new speech or confession or moment of clarity to learn from.  Maybe the first or the second one was decently inspirational, but after a while, it just became monotonous.  Two in particular (one with Hilary Swank and the other dealing with Bobby DeNiro) had my theater laughing out loud.

If you can’t already tell, the film suffers from a major case of overload in every way.  Besides a few treasured moments with Hector Elizondo, Jack McGee, and Sofia Vergara (all of whom have nothing more than extended cameos), there really isn’t anything very funny or emotional.  We have nice musical moments, but they’re all hysterical to watch because they’re so badly lip synced.  We have beautiful shots of Times Square, but wait…they are destroyed by Warner Bros advertising in-film with huge billboards for SHERLOCK HOLMES 2 (absolutely stupid and self indulgent…stop trying so hard for cheap advertising…it just makes the audience hate the movie even more).  We basically sit, stare at our watches, and wait to walk out of the theater.

New Year’s Eve is a time of joy in many people’s lives.  When the clock strikes midnight on December 31st, it inspires people to start anew.  I’m sure that on that magical night, there are hundreds of stories to tell that would warm our hearts.  NEW YEAR’S EVE tries to do that and fails miserably.  Besides a few tiny moments that made me chuckle, I felt my mind slowly shutting down.  Again, I know that Garry Marshall was trying to get a feeling across, and I respect him for trying, but please…let’s not get to COLUMBUS DAY, or  CHRISTMAS DAY or PRESIDENT’S DAY…

GRADE: C-

Mike’s LIKES:

1) HECTOR ELIZONDO: I have to admit that I definitely chuckled at this sweet old man.  He was one of the few great parts in VALENTINE’S DAY, and he delivers here with his subtle foreigner.

2) JACK MCGEE: Oh, the old, horny grandpa…

3) SONGS: Yes, there were moments that the music drew you in, and you were in the spirit of the moment.  And then…(see DISLIKE #4)

Mike’s DISLIKES:

1) TOO MANY CELEBRITIES FOR ITS OWN GOOD: When there are 30 celebrities in one film, some of which barely get five lines to enjoy their moment and most of which have horrible exposition in the dialogue, it’s pretty hard to think of this as anything near real.

2) CLICHÉ: How many clichéd moments could fit into a single movie?  I’ll let you find out.

3) INSPIRATION CRAMMED: If you could have an audience leave a movie with one lesson, that’s all you need.  You don’t need to cram 15 lessons down their throats.  They all get jumbled up and lost in each other, and then they get nothing.

4) SONGS: Every song was lip synched horribly.  Every moment that you could enjoy turned out to be so fake instead.  I’ve seen soap operas and Hallmark films with better ADR than that.

EXTRA FACTS:

1) Halle Berry was originally cast in Katherine Heigl’s role, but had to drop out due to her custody battle with her ex. After the custody was resolved, she was again cast, but now as Nurse Aimee.

2) Reese Witherspoon was offered a role but turned it down, while Penelope Cruz auditioned for a role.

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