If the trailer is any indication, Garry Marshall’s newest film, New Year’s Eve, is almost exactly the same as his last film, Valentine’s Day, except with a different over-hyped holiday. Despite – or perhaps because of – its long list of incredibly famous actors and numerous romantic story lines, it’s stacking up to be yet another trite, cliched, and ultimately uninspiring smorgasbord of self-regard disguised as self-deprecation. How did the man responsible for The Odd Couple and Happy Days get to this point? Let’s take a trip down celluloid memory lane.
First came Love Actually, the film filled with some famous people and some-not-so famous people, all of whom shared universal love stories that intertwined in subtle yet real ways. It was about sex, love, romance, and best of all, Christmas. Bonus points for all the British accents. We loved it.
Then came Valentine’s Day, the wanna-be Love Actually filled with even more famous people and intertwining love stories. Too many, in fact – it made us a bit dizzy. And because it was centered around one of the most cliched days of the year, it was just too much mush, gush, and teen tonsil honkey. No thanks.
Now comes New Year’s Eve, following directly in the footsteps of Valentine’s Day. New Year’s Eve boasts an impressive cast of everyone who’s anyone in Hollywood. We’ve got Lea Michele, Jon Bon Jovi, Hilary Swank, Jessica Biel, and about a million more. How Marshall locked down Robert De Niro for such a silly movie is a mystery for the ages, but I guess De Niro gave up around the time Analyze That came out.
This film celebrates that one magical night every year when the entire world gets together to celebrate new beginnings, the wonders of alcohol, and the hopes of getting a little midnight action. With Ashton Kutcher’s “I’m depressed and I only wear sweatpants” mood, a random romance between Ludacris and Hilary Swank, and Zac Efron making dreams come true for Michelle Pfeiffer, I just might gouge my eyes out. There is nothing about this film that makes me curious, and I definitely plan on spending my New Year’s Eve doing other things besides watching Sarah Jessica Parker pretend to not have any opportunities to wear pretty dresses.
But who knows? Marshall may well surprise us with a well-crafted tale of love in the city of big dreams. But it’s looking like he’d prefer to squeeze a few more bucks out of a once-endearing idea, and that’s hardly in the spirit of “out with the old, in with the new.”