New Year's Eve: Movie Review

It's ironic really. It's been almost two years since "Valentine's Day" was released by Garry Marshall and here we have "New Year's Eve" - a film that tries to capture the beauty, the wonder and the hope that comes from the last night of the year. While it tackles resolutions of past mistakes or simply looking back at the year that has passed, it seems that Garry Marshall himself forgot to look at his old film and see what things needed improvement. While we did praise "Valentine's Day" back then, the same old problems were repeated over and over again. The setting might be different this time but it's the same old story really.

"New Year's Eve" showcases the lives of several people on the last day of the year. Sam (Josh Duhamel) needs to go back to New York for his annual speech at his family's company party. Fortunately, he gets the help of a pastor but soon finds out that going their is just the easy part. Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker) just found out that her daughter does not want to spend new year's eve with her. When she doesn't allow her to go out with her friends, her daughter runs away and Kim embarks to find her daughter at Times Square. Ingrid (Michelle Pfeifer) just quit her job and tries to accomplish her new year's resolution list from last year before the day ends. She employs the help of Paul (Zac Efron), her former messenger who wants to get her tickets to the biggest party of the year. Tess Byrne (Jessica Biel) and her husband just discovered that their hospital has a contest - the first woman who bears a child in the new year gets to win $25,000. When they discover that Tess is not due for a few more days, they try every trick in the book to induce the baby out. Laura (Katherine Hiegl) is a budding chef and was hired by the biggest record company to cook for their annual party. Unfortunately, this also means contending with her former fiance and hit singer Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi). Randy (Ashton Kutcher) hates the new year while Elise (Lea Michele) loves it. Both find themselves stuck in their apartment elevator and learn to understand each other's sentiments. Claire (Hillary Swank) is heading the Times Square balldrop but unfortunately, the ball shorts and stops midway. She must find a way to calm the people down and most importantly, get the ball working before midnight or else.

If you liked "Valentine's Day" then you will definitely love "New Year's Eve". It's strikingly shocking how similar both films are - warts and all. The setting might have changed but at its core, it is the same old film. The "intertwined" and interconnected characters are back, the endless stories of their lives(just take a look at our unusually long synopsis) and all the problems that come with these narrative style too. Again, the film falls short in maintaining focus and balance. There are just too many characters and stories to contend with. This means some characters feel like fodder material and those important, key ones have big gaps from scene-to-scene that there's a tendency to get emotionally-detached. The film also feels too clean, too predictable at times and just plain fast - the film really doesn't know what heartbreak is as sworn enemies, strangers and people who just meet become lovers in a snap. It's just too close to a fairy tale story to be believable and real life. All are not bad for "New Year's Eve" as it is hilarious. From start-to-finish, we found ourselves laughing endlessly. We also thought that the acting was actually better than usual (well probably except Jon Bon Jovi). Here's the bottom line, "New Year's Eve" is simply a feel-good film. Everyone has a happy ending and you will find yourself laughing endlessly but it also lacks depth, clarity and focus.

Rating: 3 reels

Why you should watch it:
- the film is funny from start to finish
- a no nonsense film with a happily ever after ending

Why you shouldn't watch it:
- it's "Valentine's Day" redux
- the film is predictable
- it lacked focus with so many characters to contend with

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