Film Review: New Year’s Eve

Someone wise once told me that there is no point wasting your time watching awful films, when there are so many good ones to see. This is hard to argue with. Why watch High School Musical 3 when there are a plethora of Hitchcock classics that you’ve yet to even delve into?

As modern cinema watchers, we’re inherently lazy. As we sit down to watch a film after a long day spent on clicking around on Facebook, the last thing we want is to watch something that’s remotely challenging. You suggest 12 Angry Men? “But there’s no colour!” Something in French perhaps, Jean de Florette? “With subtitles? No WAY! Reading is for losers!”

So, instead we opt for the comfortable, the safe Americanised versions of fairytale romances and fluffy comedies, featuring Ashton Kutcher’s perfectly-formed backside.

This is exactly what New Year’s Eve is about.  Although, I have to admit that my viewing was slightly tinted – not just because there was a distinct lack of music throughout the whole film (odd?) – but because I now see Ashton and his derriere with a lot more clarity. He is not the funny, charming guy with artfully disheveled hair, who fell in love with Demi, even though she is laden down with the onus of being both old AND having children. No, he’s a lying, cheating womanizer! And all we have to console ourselves is that one day, that bum will go saggy, and he will be left all alone with no one to love him.

Anyway, back to the film. If the words ‘ From makers of Valentines Day’ weren’t enough of a giveaway, then let me enlighten you as to what this film is all about.

New Year’s Eve tells of several well-to-do New Yorkers, as they gather at the centre of the universe (Times Square) to bring in the new year. In one hospital, two men are waiting for their wives to go into labour, only to discover that the hospital offers a large cash prize to the parents of the baby born first after midnight. In another hospital, an old man (Robert De Niro) is dying of cancer.

Jon Bon Jovi makes an appearance, as the lovesick rock star who is still in love with the beautiful chef (Katherine Heigl) who’s chosen to follow her dreams, whilst Michelle Pfeiffer plays an unrecognizable and slightly bizarre character called Ingrid, whose constant feeling of agitation leads her to quit her job and enlist Paul (Zac Efron) to help her complete her resolutions before midnight. Something about her disheveled hair (note: not in a sexy Ashton way) reminded me of Allison, the Goth girl with dandruff from John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club.

We flit between couples as their stories unfold; loves are won and lost, chaos ensues as the Times Square ball gets stuck halfway up the pole (god forbid!). But, as you’ve already guessed, it all ends happily ever after.

Yes, they are trying to copy Love Actually, and do they succeed..? What do you reckon? Love Actually was clever and original, in the way they managed to link all the characters together – brothers, sisters, work colleagues – into a neat unified whole. New Year’s Eve sloppily shoves everyone in a single party and justifies that as their common connection; a party that looks strangely like a Glee finale, with Lea Michele belting her heart out to Auld Lang Syne.

But I’m a helpless romantic at heart, and this bypasses any desire to watch solely intellectual films. I enjoyed the soppy one-liners, the glittering dresses, the predictable hook-ups; I even shed a tear when Halle Berry spent midnight, all dressed up, skyping her boyfriend who was far away in Afghanistan. And it wasn’t entirely predictable, just 90% of it was.

So I say go, see the cheesy American film. We all know what’s going to happen, but we are also all creatures of habit, and secretly love the sense of predictability, because it makes us feel in calm and in control of the world. This is also why we no longer like Ashton Kutcher, because he broke the predictability rules. All we can now do is watch the film and weep, as another we loose another good-looking actor to the Hollywood sleaze-bag cliché.