Garry Marshall, the director of 1990’s Pretty Woman, has become the official go to man for the “ensemble romance director revolving around a holiday”. In 2010, he released Valentine’s Day, a critically panned movie that follows about 12 couples preparing for everything going on during Valentine’s Day. As a sucker for romance regardless of the cheesiness, I’m a fan of Valentine’s Day only because it stars a surprising amount of my favorite actors, and manages to keep me entertained for its 125 minute running time, otherwise known as “bloated”. Now, his follow up, which is called New Year’s Eve, stars about half of the cast of Valentine’s Day, replacing the other half with equally as talented stars who probably needed a paycheck.
New Year’s Eve takes the word “cheesy” to a whole new plateau that I didn’t even think was attainable, but goddammit, I enjoyed it anyway. By incorporating what seemed like less storylines, New Year’s Eve manages to have a little more focus than its predecessor while still maintaining the choppiness that we’ve come to know and love from each and every plot. The stories are as cliché as ever, but come on, love is grand and we all want to see the happy couples inevitably make it through whatever they might be going through.
The writing is god awful, but I think that’s to be expected and really not worth commenting on since the reason you go see these movies isn’t believability, quality, or even the potential gem. No, it’s not happening, so get it out of your mind now. The sole purpose New Year’s Eve exists it to make money, and I’m okay with that, because I got my $7.50 worth of movie, and I really can’t complain about getting what I paid for can I?
This whole ensemble comedy romance thing was really catapulted with 2009’s He’s Just Not That Into You, which is by far the best and most coherent entry in this little “series”. Starring talent like Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Aniston, Justin Long, Scarlett Johansson, and many, many more, we as audiences saw that big name stars really can share the screen without trying to one-up each other. The film, which is based off of a self-help book, was a hit, a hit that inevitably lead to even more successful sequels that compromised quality for quantity.
Frankly, I don’t care why they make these movies, why they make them, who the demographic is, or whether or not they’re considered “good movies” or not. I like watching them because I get to see some of my favorite young, and even seasoned, professionals make absolute fools of themselves by spouting cringe-worthy dialogue and dishing out performances that are akin to a high school play. There’s a scene in New Year’s Eve involving Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, and Robert DeNiro. It’s the best acted scene in the entire movie, but it made me think how a collective 7 Oscars in one room can equate to a movie so gleefully awful, that you just have to see it.
It also seems like each of these movies gets less and less raunchy in its content. I swear, if it weren’t for one f-bomb in this entire movie, it probably would’ve been rated PG, which I’m not totally opposed to. It really is an innocent movie, which is kind of nice to witness. A romantic comedy that the whole family can enjoy, even those as young as 10 or 11. New Year’s Eve is on the safe side of PG-13, and hey, we all need a little bit of kid friendly movie-going in our lives.
New Year’s Eve is prime cheesiness, bearing no resemblance to what a human being would call realism. The acting is atrocious as is the writing, but you can’t help but be sucked in by the almost overamplified barrage of cliché, and the heartwarming scenes that may make you shed one little manly tear. It’s the perfect movie to see with a loved one on a rainy day, because you’ll walk out feeling great regardless.