Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve - 118min – PG13

This movie is like listening to a story from your favorite uncle. You have heard it 15 times before but out of respect you let him tell it again. You give non-committal “Huh” at just the right points but you are really not engaged in the story. New Year’s Eve is really a lot like Gary Marshall’s earlier holiday film, Valentine’s Day. That one took place in Los Angeles and this one is in New York. I fear that his next project will be Arbor Day in Lebanon, KS. As much as I am a fan of his body of work this one only rates a red light. Sorry, Uncle Gary.

New York has a huge cross section of people and different feelings on the holiday that is the focus of this film. The movie gives us the sampling of those views spread over six different groups of people. With so much going on, it’s hard to really get behind any one story. You have spectacular cast with some really big names like Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Jon Bon Jovi and Josh Duhamel, to name a few. Each one represents a different demographic of The Big Apple and we see them deal with life during that time of year in which we look at the past and hope for the future.

The plots weren’t bad, but it was just nothing new. The various elements seemed deliberately trying to make a quota with the heart strings. Have a military element? Check. Dying man? Check. Grinchy character that changes his view? Check. An affair to remember reference? Check. Heartfelt message of how we should all get along and look forward to a new year? Check. A bunch of plotlines from the 70s that we can rehash into a film about a holiday? Unfortuntaly, check.

The main issue I have with this film is it tries to make the emotional connection with too many people. They are trying to make the people of New York the focus of the film bit too large a cross section to capture accurately. I could not really get in touch with any of the characters. There were some gems but overall, it was a long walk for the same old pay off.

They try and make it a hook film with some misleading story elements and bring you to a conclusion that you were not expecting but it’s more of a neat trick than a really good story. The pacing of the film was choppy as it had to jump from person to person. If they cut out some of the stories and focused just a few of them it would have been easier to get behind some of them. Gary Marshall has directed some of my favorite movies. One film of his that I love is Nothing in Common. I loved that film. His better films have been ones that you would not give a second look. This one should not get a first look.

Resolved to not read any Spoilers this year? Warning they are here!!!

The only part that got be laughing was in the trailer, the scene when Seth Meyers is taking Jessica Biel way and telling her, “come on honey, nobody wins when pregnant women fight.” I laughed out loud at that part. It was nice to see him away from the SNL News Desk. The other part was when Penny Marshall asked the waitress if she was an actor. That was harsh but funny.

When Hilary Swank and Josh Duhamel don’t meet up when the film leads us to believe they are supposed to. Was a good switcheroo but not enough to make the film any better. I was very glad that I did not see that coming. Everything else was very predictable.

Some notable side characters that were bigger than the role called for. Cary Elwes was a doctor and was on screen for like a minunte. Alyssa Milano also took a bit part. I wonder if this was a bucket list requirement for each of them. Do a Gary Marshall film? Check.

I find it interesting that the entire population of New York in New Year ’s Eve will all stop and give attention to Hillary Swank explain why the ball is not dropping. Yep. Everyone in New York will stop what they are doing for an update. They are well known for their orderly behavior.

This movie was trying to get you to stop and think about your life vis-à-vis the New Year. What other films have made you look at your life in a different way?

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