Like Valentine’s Day, Marshall’s previous film, New Year’s Eve depicts a series of linked (mostly romantic) events based around around the holiday, featuring a large ensemble cast of well-known celebs. We’ve seen this trickery before and the effect is even made more stale this time around thanks to the Romcom cast. A sentimamental sham clearly aimed at cashing in on the festive season, it went on to be nominated for five Razzies this year.
There aren’t many titles that could go head to head with Jack & Jill, awarded the worst movie last year, but New Year’s Eve seems a fair challenge. After a full 118 minutes of running time, it’s hard to recognise any real story. Instead it feels like we are treated to a series of not-so-clever adverts strung together with a single theme. They’re selling us romance, forgiveness, appreciation, family and other sentimentalised ideas. Unfortantely, you won’t buy any of it.
It’s tiresome to explain every single story at work here, but some of the storylines include a couple awaiting the birth of their child, a lonely woman who employs a delivery boy to help her achieve her year’s renovations, two people who fall in love after being trapped together in an elevator and a gentleman on his deathbed trying to enjoy his last moments of life.
Like Valentine’s day before, New Year’s Eve forgets the importance of character development. All the stories are predictable and forgettable, minus the story with Zach Efron, who actually manages to stand out amongst the crowd. That crowd, which includes a flirty Aston Kutcher, a dying De Niro, a charming Jon Bon Jovi, a modest Ludacris, a less cheery Sarah Jessica Parker, and a feisty Katherine Heigl, are all mechanical characters forcing us to feel for their silly situations.
The trouble with ensemble comedies – romantic or otherwise – is that the audience is given little time to develop a relationship with any of their characters. Relaying between characters, there is no backstory and everything feels paper thin. Unless you enjoy mindless romantic movies stay clear.