As if Valentine’s Day wasn’t bad enough, director Gary Marshall and screenwriter Katherine Fugate have brought us New Year’s Eve, their latest attempt to rip-off Love Actually. Here’s a hint, guys, that movie isn’t called “Christmas” for a reason.
This movie is such a dud, it’s hard to tell where to start. If you’re not familiar with this type of movie, it’s basically a series of holiday-themed vignettes, that all somehow connect to each other. This movie tells eight different stories, each one more boring than the next. Lea Michele and Ashton Kutcher play polar opposites stuck in an elevator together, Zac Efron aids a dowdy Michelle Pfieffer, Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel try to pop out a baby, Sarah Jessica Parker single-parents the rebellious Abigail Breslin, Halle Berry nurses a dying Robert De Niro, and Josh Duhamel stands around looking handsome. There’s more, but basically, people have problems and the magic of New Year’s Eve helps fix them. Hugs all around.
The sad thing is, these are talented people. Ashton Kutcher‘s smile brightens every terrible scene he’s in, and Seth Meyers makes the stupid jokes he’s given almost funny. The movie oozes potential likeability, but the writing falls flat every time. It’s really insulting to these actors to force them into such boring, predictable roles.
Maybe the fact that these people are so famous and recognizable is what makes this movie fail. No one really cares about the characters, because the sheer amount of star power is too distracting. This causes a complete lack of chemistry between the cast, because no one really wants to watch Katherine Heigl and Bon Jovi make out. In any case, the film is disjointed enough as it is, and the all-star cast makes that even more apparent.
The movie’s many plots are tiresome and dull. It’s pretty easy to guess what’s going to happen within the first two minutes of each story, which makes sitting through two hours of it all the more painful. The writing, again, is completely at fault. What tries to be heartwarming ends up like greeting card mush, and all glimmers of hope are few and far between.
The “best” out of the bunch is Efron and Pfieffer’s bucket list-type adventure, but even then it’s impossible to tell whether Efron actually likes her or if he just pities her, and the worst would have to be watching De Niro croak at Halle Berry about his own mortality. Yuck. Everything culminates at the Times Square celebration (of course) which is just as boring to watch in this movie as it is on TV. Sorry, Ryan Seacrest.
The biggest failure, though, is the stories’ failure to connect. New Year’s Eve sounds good in theory, so how did it become such a poorly constructed mess? Gary Marshall, explain yourself. All in all, a movie that tries so hard to be a celebration of holiday cheer becomes a thinly veiled cash cow for the people who wanted to recreate Valentine’s Day‘s $200 million in ticket sales.
Maybe that’s why no one will like this movie. It’s an insult to its audience.