“New Year’s Eve” is a great movie for people who are easily distracted. Each “mini-plot” is not particularly exciting, but the sudden scene changes and seemingly endless supply of actors can be quite entertaining.
Although better than “Valentine’s Day,” “New Year’s Eve” is a completely brainless, forgettable movie. I think that’s what director Gary Marshall was aiming for: a light, sappy film to fit with the cheesy Christmas time sentiment. And it worked: many audience members walked out of the theater feeling cheerful and completely in the holiday spirit.
The movie starred a ridiculously long list of actors, from Sarah Jessica Parker to Jon Bon Jovi to Seth Meyers. In this case, “starred” is a strong word, because with such an expansive cast, each actor had quite a small role.
A few of the mini-plots had some promise for depth, such as Robert De Niro’s tear-jerking hospital rooftop scene and Halle Berry’s midnight “celebration” with her deployed husband. But the actors’ talents were wasted because their screen time seemed to be at most two consecutive minutes.
Whereas “Valentine’s Day” focused solely on romantic relationships, “New Year’s Eve” branched out to other areas, including a mother-daughter relationship and even rapports between strangers. “New Year’s Eve” was also slightly less predictable. Every scenario ended with “happily ever after” of course, but in slightly unexpected ways.
In “New Year’s Eve,” the unexpected relationships and connections between each mini-plot maintained an element of surprise. Traps were set up to coerce the audience into thinking they’d cleverly guessed at a twist, when really they were completely wrong. Many from the audience may have thought Hilary Swank was rushing off to meet up with Josh Duhamel. Nice one, writers.
If you’re looking for something intellectual, stay away from this movie. It can be a struggle to find a single theme or moral that connects each storyline: “take chances,” maybe? Let’s go with that.
However, if you want a heartwarming, albeit cliché, holiday romantic comedy, “New Year’s Eve” is a simple, enjoyable movie.