Shock! Horror! Scandal! The latest festive romance saga from the makers of Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, which tells the story of several couples who deal with love during the countdown to 2012, is predictably about as entertaining as biting your own lips off.
And why doesn’t this film work in any way, shape or form? Well, the reasons why are simple and ones that I have expressed on this blog to such an extent that if I wrote them one more time I’d be in danger of plagiarizing myself.
Therefore, I’m going to leave it to mathematics to outline the most glaring fault in this story:
8 story lines ÷ 120 minutes = An average of 15 minutes spent on each story
Daniel Plainview hadn’t even uttered a word of dialogue 15 minutes into There Will Be Blood, Stanley Kubrick was still stuck in the prehistoric era 15 minutes into 2001: A Space Odyssey and the opening credits hadn’t even began to roll 15 minutes into Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind. Yet, nonetheless, the creators of New Year’s Eve somehow believe they can pack an entire three-act narrative into this time-frame not once but EIGHT TIMES over.
Consequently, everything is so rushed here that, as hard as you may try, it’s literally impossible to care about any of the stories. Before you’re even marginally invested in a character or plot, it’s whisked off screen only to return much later by which time you’ve forgotten all about them!
The fact that Nivea have more product placement than most of the actors do screen time says more about the film than I ever could, really.
Speaking of the cast, it’s the same difficulty that hinders this area too. With so many A-list actors in the ensemble, you’d at least expect one or two of them to knock out a decent performance here and yet none of them have enough screen time to actually illustrate what they can do.
Well, aside from an awful lingo-spouting, fist-bumping Zac Efron whose screen presence wore off long before I even recognized it was him. And that was only 5 seconds tops.
It’s not like director Garry Marshall even attempts to compile this collage of romance stories together in an inventive way. There are one or two glaringly obvious moments in which the stories overlap into one another, but aside from that the movie is essentially a number of short stories chucked together haphazardly without a concern for flow or stability.
With no charm to these stories whatsoever, New Year’s Eve relies on manipulation and exploitation in a desperate attempt to inject any emotion into the screenplay. Marshall is so determined to wring a tear from your eye – unnecessarily including subplots that feature cancer and loved ones serving oversees in the army – that he might as well employ someone to stand in every cinema screen and squirt lemon juice at viewers.
Perhaps I’m just not in demographic that would like New Year’s Eve – then again, I’d argue that neither is anyone who has eyes on their face – but the film is a sentimental collection of conveyer-belt romance stories that lack wit, heart and imagination. Make an early New Year’s resolution this year to avoid the film at all costs and ensure that the same applies to the inevitable and guaranteed to be just as bad Christmas Day, Mother’s Day and Thanksgiving movies that are currently lurking the back of some Hollywood execs mind.