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STUDIO: Warner Bros. Picture
RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes.
- Jon Bon Jovi and Lea Michele Rock New Year’s Eve
- The Magic of Times Square
- New Year’s Eve Secrets
- Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, etc.
Romantic comedy about People Magazine’s favorite subjects rushing to Times Square to watch the ball drop and forgetting to do anything romantic or comedic along the way.
Do I really have to name all of them? Everyone who advertised a beauty product, presented a Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award, or appeared in Gary Marshall’s Valentine’s Day is in this movie.
Gary Marshall aims to please all the single ladies, but resolves to please all the passengers of red eye flights looking something to fall asleep to.
Like anyone’s most successful New Year’s celebration, a majority of New Year’s Eve is spent drunkenly regretting the last year and making empty promises for the next. The rest, also like any classic December 31, is spent berating strangers about the meaning of holiday and spouting your new raison d’etat to anyone in earshot. Appropriately, New Year’s Eve treats audiences like an innocent bar bystander and shouts holiday cheer and jeer at them for roughly two hours.
According to New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Eve is a time for reflection and redundancy. Set across what feels like a hundred different stories, the film explores an overworked caterer and her ex-boyfriend Bon Jovi; an overprotective mother fighting her 15-year-old daughter’s newfound adulthood; a mousy executive assistant and a delivery boy fulfilling a years worth of resolutions; and a backup singer stuck in an elevator with a New Year’s cynic, just to name a few. Very few. They’re all essentially the same story: Someone realizes that time has passed and a change has occurred.
Gary Marshall has been on a kick for the last two years, pumping out ensemble comedies about the importance of one holiday. As a vehicle to sell greeting cards or tug on some heartstrings, Marshall is mostly successful, doling out some broad situations that result in one moment of the characters looking at something, generating a meaning that may or not be there. If nothing else, Marshall’s years of mastering sentiment pays off when it matters. He gets his second of pure holiday warmth, because, well, the guy knows how to exploit a shred of human decency, but, man, does it take a while to get there.
The cast, by-and-large, is the big sell for New Year’s Eve. But, oddly enough, in a cast including Halle Berry, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jon Bon Jovi, Katherine Heigel, Jessica Biel, Josh Dumahel, Ashton Kutcher, Hilary Swank, and Seth Meyers, very few of the members are known for comedy. Marshall populates his film with attractive people, but sticks his comedic performers to the sidelines, making scenes with Meyers and the criminally underused Larry Miller among the film’s best, and those not featuring them, a chore. The other 95% of the cast simply don’t have the comic chops to make the film enjoyable, and it really shows about 90-minutes into the film.
Instead of punching up the movie with jokes, writer Katherine Fugate keeps writing story arcs. From New Year’s to New Year’s, Marshall must have read script after script, demanding more arcs, characters, and thematic reinforcement. Yet their common thread, the Times Square’s famed New Year’s bulb, never fully brings them together. The film needs a few less stories, to accept a 90 minute runtime, and to spend little bit more time with each character. As it stands, it’s hard to sympathize any of these people, even with he added exposition shoehorned into the film’s second act.
About half way through New Year’s Eve, it becomes clear how bland spending time with these people is. Zach Efforn squiring Michelle Pfeiffer about New York does little to make either sympathetic or likable; Ashton Kutcher’s angst-ridden performance as tortured comic book artist is equally ineffective. There are few things more obnoxious in movies than people fulfilling their dreams and feeling lousy about it, and those are the only types of people invited to this New Year’s party.
Aside from DVD packaging arriving broken, the only thing that really surprised was the one-side blu-ray, other-side DVD disc, which simply blew my mind. How do they do that? Then again, the Blu-Ray side stopped working about halfway through and I had to switch to the DVD side, so I guess it’s not that impressive.
There were no particularly interesting features to speak of. Some trailers, sound options, and a non-working blu-ray side; though, the film did look quite nice in HD. Oh, and there are some featurettes about the cast’s favorite New Year’s moments. If that’s something you’re actually interested in, perhaps buying this DVD would make a great addition to your Christmas list. If not, there’s a copy of literally anything else right next to this on the shelf at Best Buy.
Out of a Possible 5 Stars