Every so often a film is released that makes me throw in the towel and give up hope that Hollywood can produce a genuinely good film these days, as it seems that they continuously feed audiences spoonfuls of regurgitated feces on a silver platter. More so my rage continues to build when I remember that it’s the audience members who flock to theaters and happily open their mouths and accept the crap prepared and fed to them. There’s plenty of films that just aren’t good but there’s only a few that should be drawn and quartered for its own self-indulgence and simplicity; you know, films that are made strictly to rake in cash as opposed to telling a good story or being entertaining. New Year’s Eve is the definition of those types of films.
For anyone who’s seen Garry Marshall’s previous train wreck, Valentine’s Day, or any romantic comedy or holiday-themed film, then the plot of New Years Eve will be more than familiar and trite. It’s the day of magic, New Years Eve, and audiences are meant to follow and care for roughly 20 or so New Yorkers during the last few hours of 2011 into 2012 and their attempts to end the night on a high. Parties are to be attended, babies are to be born, boys are to be kissed, serendipity is meant to take place, amends are to be made, and balls need to be dropped among a slew of other worthless and contrived plot devices.
New Years Eve is a perfect example of manufactured studio bullshit. While that’s not enough to praise the film over, it’s definitely an art form in itself to create something so fake and plastic and yet mask it as if it had a heart. The production of the film is wonderfully elaborate, however, with the sets being on location in the streets of New York. Scenes depicting downtown New York on New Year’s Eve are remarkably authentic with hundreds of extras decked out in 2012 glasses and party hats and emitting pure joy from their faces. Mayor Bloomberg even appears in a scene adding to the enormous scale of work put into making the events of the film look genuine. The costume design is also equally impressive as fashion is a major staple within the film.
That being said the first of many of New Years Eve’s problem is the cast. Katherine Heigl’s character, Laura, replies to an excited character’s comment of seeing a celebrity with “there’s going to be more celebrities here than in rehab.” I’ll do you one better, New Years Eve has more celebrities than an African benefit concert. It’s almost disgusting just how smug this film is made so by packing as much star power in it as possible. I can’t even begin to name the ridiculous cast, but allow your mouse to navigate you over to IMDB if curiosity gets the best of you. Some actors’ appearances in the film makes sense when reviewing their filmography and realizing they will do anything for a paycheck, but the likes of certain actors, such as Matthew Broderick and Michelle Pfeiffer, had me scratching my head vigorously throughout the film.
Really guys? Was this a favor to the director or have you all done enough films that shame has no bounds?
When I wasn’t holding back waves of nausea from each moment of “Where’s Waldo with Celebrities”, I was hurting my brain from rolling my eyes so hard at the film’s flimsy and awful script. The entire movie plays out as if it was written by a film school freshman whose only reference for screenwriting is past romantic comedies set in a big city or perhaps only New York. Characters are so one-dimensional that I was sure they’d disappear. There’s no deep connection with any character and the only reason the viewer may experience any sense of emotion or empathy is because the music cues tells you to or a speech or emotional scene reminds you that you’re supposed to be feeling something.
New Years Eve is surprisingly and unbelievably stereotypical in its portrayal of minorities. Sophia Vergara’s character is a badly constructed means of comic relief as her character strongly enforces the stereotype of the hyper-sexual, airhead Latina. When she’s not being a ridiculous over the top pawn, Russell Peters guest stars as the stereotypical thick accented Indian and her goofy sidekick. When taking into account it’s the minor racially diverse characters that are portrayed as airhead co-workers of the much more fabulous and successful white counterparts, the film makes you embarrassed that we’re going into 2012 with these same screen portrayals.
In its attempt to be an all around perfect holiday film New Years Eve features an unnecessary amount of musical moments to the point where I debated if I was watching a musical or not. I should have expected this, however, due to cast members Lea Michele of Glee fame and Jon Bon Jovi, but it’s still surprisingly corny when the two break out in song specifically during a scene where Michele’s character, Elise, is prompted to show off her chops while being stuck in an elevator. The scene proceeds with a sound tracked song led by Bon Jovi while the scene cuts back and forth between his performance at a banquet and her backing vocals as she looks longingly away from her partner in an elevator to belt out a sappy forgettable song.
Living on a prayer that this movie and your singing will stop. You give music a bad name.
The attempt to mildly impress audiences with shocks and plot turns is cute but pointless because of its predictability. Of course, with 20+ characters focused on in the film, their lives are obviously intertwined and viewers discover who’s related, who’s dating, and who are meant to show serendipity. Even if you don’t guess whose connections work, once you discover them you just don’t care because it’s so blandly contrived.
New Years Eve is one of the most shamelessly bad movies I’ve seen in a long time and sitting through it was torture that made me pray for forgiveness to the gods for whatever sin I’ve committed that put me in the theater seat to witness such a travesty. It’s in no way entertaining, unique or meaningful. New Years Eve reminded me of times in high school when I studied ten minutes before an essay test and spent the hour of working “winging it” and name-dropping in order to sound more knowledgeable than I was. The saddest part of all was that Zac Efron’s face, which is usually a redeeming quality for any crap film *coughCharlieStCloudcouch,* wasn’t enough to save such a mockery.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for every actor you see whose career you were sure was dead and buried.
Take a Drink: every time you pay more attention to an actress’s breasts than her performance.
Take a Drink: every time a segment involving characters you forgot about appears on screen.
Take a Shot: every time you audibly sigh at how bad the film really is.