Few occasions hold as much emotional significance in people’s minds as the end of another year, and few moments are able to elicit as many new resolutions, life-changing thoughts and tears of sorrow and regret as the New Year’s Eve celebrations. So it’s little wonder that such a ripe subject has been revisited time and time again in cinema’s history. Garry Marshall’s imaginatively titled New Year’s Eve (2011) is Hollywood’s latest effort.
The spiritual sequel to Marshall’s awful 2010 effort Valentine’s Day and starring a whole host of well-known Hollywood A-listers including Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Lea Michele, Aston Kutcher, Jon Bon Jovi (?!) and Sarah Jessica Parker, New Year’s Eve aims to show the lives of several different characters as they intertwine during the last 24 hours of the year. Some of the film’s characters have been looking forward to the night, whilst others simply hate it; some hope to rebuild their life in the coming year, some just want a fresh start; yet all will hopefully gain a new perspective on themselves and their life.
It is almost ironic that – just as the night itself often capitulates into mediocrity – the film builds expectations and then promptly fails to deliver upon them. Yes, the choice of topic is potentially inspiring and the talents featured promise explosive performances, but it’s all too much – the script’s attempt to bring the story together just cheapens it and turns Marshall’s latest into what can only be described as an overly-long TV commercial for Times Square’s New Year’s Eve celebrations.
The characters presented are so many in number that – in the end – you don’t feel like you’ve really gotten to know or empathise with any of them. In truth, you’d be forgiven for questioning the necessity of having them in the script to begin with – as is the case with Sarah Jessica Parker’s Kim, who spends her limited screen time chasing after her teenage daughter.
The film’s multitude of actors have no space to grow into their roles and their performances – as a consequence – are superficial and uninspired, based upon simple, extremely unoriginal cliches. Perhaps what ultimately destroys New Year’s Eve’s credibility are the terrible sing-a-long moments featuring Glee star Lea Michele as she belts out a series of auto-tuned numbers – simply awful.