Thursday, December 08, 2011

FILM REVIEW: New Years' Eve

The problem with the continued creation of these type of movies is that the writers have forgotten: It's not quantity. It's quality. This film had enough well-known actors to play a drinking game with. It is by far the worst romance anthology yet.

Yes, it will make you sentimental and teary-eyed for there is death, birth, heartbreak, and heart-mending, but none of the love stories had that memorable WOW factor that really made you envy their love life, which as we all know is the most common result of watching a good rom-com.

Excluding odes to cities, like New York, I Love You and Paris Je T'aime, the most popular romance anthologies are Love Actually, He's Just Not That Into You, and Valentine's Day. The first is heralded as a classic, and rewatched by millions every year around Christmas time. And the last two were critically bashed for not being able to recapture its beautiful stories of love and loss. But, viewers were able to find at least one good love story in all three.

My favorite in Love Actually is about the little boy who learned how to play the drums to get his crush to notice him. In HJNTIY, it was the story of how a womanizing bar manager took on the task of teaching a clueless young woman how to tell when a guy's interested and how to keep him interested, all the while falling for her himself. And in Valentine's Day it was the story about the scandalized football player who came out of the closet on national television to win his boyfriend back, a boyfriend whose identity was revealed to much surprise at the end. These were all stories worth telling.
New Years' Eve, however, felt manufactured. Add 20 established actors, make sure they are of all ages and races, stir in mystery and obstacles, and then sprinkle on a little wonder and holiday spirit. Boom! A movie. Uh. No. That's not how it works. First off, you've got to cut the dead weight. Three stories. That's it. Not eight. Three. Five tops! Who should get cut? Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele ("Glee"). I tried to get into their whole trapped-in-an-elevator-console-me-because-I-got-dumped-on-New-Years'-once schtick, but Michele is incapable of turning down her bubbly meter. She sings when she speaks. It's incredibly distracting. Plus, they barely had any chemistry and there wasn't enough time to muster any either. Next to go are Seth Meyers ("SNL") and Jessica Biel. Love them separately, but not even a little bit together. They played a married couple who were trying to beat Til Schweiger (Inglorious Basterds) and Sarah Paulson (Martha Marcy May Marlene) in a competition for the first baby of the new year in order to win $25,000. Not only was Schweiger a terrible comedic actor, but the comedic talent of both Meyers and Biel were wasted on baby humor.
Feel free to also cut Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi. Let's be honest, Heigl doesn't need any more romances added to her resume, but that's not why she deserves to get the boot. It's the age difference, and the incredulity of her storyline. Tell me, if someone proposed to you, bought an apartment with you, and then abandoned you to go on tour without any notice, would you forgive him after he apologizes three times, claiming to NOW be ready to commit, and you smack him twice? Um, no. It would take longer than half a day for you to forgive him after an entire year of waiting to tattoo your hand across his face. And cutting them would also be appreciated so that poor Sofia Vergara could stop playing a caricature of her "Modern Family" character Gloria, the sensual Hispanic woman who says words funny and misunderstands the simplest things. She's better than that. And for that matter so is rapper Ludacris, who continues to get pointless cameos in rom-coms ever since No Strings Attached.
While we're on the topic of age difference, incredulity, and being "better" than something, Mrs. Sarah Jessica Parker (Broderick), how dare you play, wait it's supposed to be a surprise so...opposite someone obviously younger than you? They would've been better off pairing Jovi with SJP and Heigl with...that other guy, because at least then there would be a grain of believability. Also, I know she's at an age of motherhood, but why is every mom she plays a frazzled, clingy bore? And last but not least, Josh Duhamel. Ohhhh Duhamelly. His storyline of meeting some hot chick he met a year ago at midnight would've been WAY more appealing if perhaps she seemed just as enthusiastic, which she would've been if this were real life. Because in real life, if a girl meets someone who looks like Josh Duhamel in a pizzeria at midnight, she doesn't 1) abandon him there when he goes to the bathroom 2) not write her name on the note she leaves or 3) show no enthusiasm to see him whatsoever all of New Years' Eve. Way to keep the (second) mystery alive with poor writing.
The only stories worth keeping I believe covered all the bases of love quite well. Abigail Breslin and Jake T. Austin ("Wizards of Waverly Place") represented young love, first kisses, and instantaneous heartbreak. Robert DeNiro and Hilary Swank represented family love as he deteriorated from cancer in the hospital. Halle Berry, his nurse, and rapper Common (Just Wright), her soldier boyfriend, represented enduring, long-distance love. And Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron represented self-love, learning to not take any day for granted and live it like it's your last.
Pfeiffer and Efron were actually my favorite and if their storyline were a movie on its own, I'd watch it. I've never seen Efron be that uninhibited before, like he wasn't afraid to make an ass out of himself, which he in fact did. Several times. It was hilarious. Especially during the end credits when he danced douchely. And Pfeiffer really shed her vanity, diving into a different cat lady persona altogether. She, DeNiro, and Berry clearly didn't get the memo on only having to tap into a quarter of their talent for their 10 minutes onscreen, because they delivered performances that certainly earned them their hefty paychecks.

Ok so look, if you want to go watch this movie because you love rom-coms, then be my guest. One more couldn't hurt. If you love the holiday and the spirit for which it is celebrated, you're not only going to enjoy this movie, but you'll tear up during Swank's speech about the ball dropping. But if you think that 20+ actors equals a romantic cornucopia, you're going to be seriously disappointed. It's more like a label-less buffet in a sketchy deli with mystery meat and gray fruit, topped off with a faint odor of dead cat.

No comments:

Post a Comment