I went and saw New Year’s Eve on Saturday, and as soon as it was over I knew I needed to write a review about it. In sum:
New Year’s Eve was cheesy, it was cliche, the acting was so-so and the script was terrible. And I loved it.
I don’t know what it was about the movie that just left me with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. The characters repeatedly mentioned the “magic” of New Year’s Eve, and it must have been that magic that saved the movie.
To say that the movie follows several people in New York over the course of a day is a big understatement. There are no fewer than nine different story lines, and only a few attempts are made to connect these threads, so I was essentially watching a whole lot of mini movies. But the upside of this is that if I happened to not like one of the stories, that’s OK, there’s plenty more where that came from!
Now, I’ve heard this movie compared contemptuously with Valentine’s Day and Love, Actually. However, I feel that while these movies do have the basic style in common, i.e. multiple intertwining story lines, that it is just that, a style. To say that these are the “same movie” is like saying that The Fighter and Black Swan are the same movie because they both employ the shaky, handheld camera effect. Or that The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye are the same book because they’re both written in stream-of-consciousness. (Granted, Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve have more in common than just film style, but I still maintain they can both stand on their own merit.)
From Sarah Paulsen and Jessica Biel fighting to be the first to have their baby on New Year’s Day (hospitals typically give out prizes to the first baby born, but usually not it’s not as extravagant as the $25,000 prize the movie’s hospital boasts), to Michelle Pfeiffer trying to fulfill all her resolutions, to Lea Michele stuck in an elevator with Ashton Kutcher, there are plenty of stars to love (or hate) in this movie.
One of the biggest downsides of New Year’s Eve is that with so many story lines to follow, it’s hard to give any one of them enough depth to really pull you into the movie. The beginning of the movie was the worst part for me, because to introduce all the plots, there was too much flat-out explaining what was happening (worst example – Katherine Heigl’s character, chef Laura, giving all the details of her past with Jon Bon Jovi’s character, super-popular musician Jensen, DURING their conversation together. As if he didn’t already know what he did).
Once I understood what was going on, however, I really enjoyed it, and while Sarah Jessica Parker’s character was easily the most annoying of the bunch, that was mitigated by the sheer charm of Kutcher and Michele together, not to mention Halle Berry’s goodheartedness as a nurse taking care of a dying Robert de Niro (how does she still look so young?) or Josh Duhamel bonding with a pastor’s family in an RV.
The final plus for me, and the reason I went to see it in the first place, is that I am a sucker for New Year’s Eve. I watch the ball drop every year, and I loved seeing the proceedings on the big screen, headed up by Hilary Swank. It was a huge bonus for me to see Ryan Seacrest in the movie.
So if you’re willing to put aside the cynic in you, and don’t go into the movie expecting to see an Oscar-worthy picture, but rather good-natured fluff about the magic of New Year’s Eve, you could have a really good time! (Bonus tip: stay for the bloopers at the end; they made me laugh out loud.)