Thanks to Roadshow Films, we had the chance to see Garry Marshall’s ‘New Year’s Eve’ before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film – but as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because: There is no better critic than yourself!
Like its predecessor ‘Valentine’s Day’ by the same director, New Year’s Eve is a multi-tale romantic comedy using a kaleidoscopic A-list cast including Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jon Bon Jovi, Halle Berry, Josh Duhamel, Hilary Swank, Zac Efron, Abigail Breslin and many more. The film tells the story of each character, be them individuals, couples, neighbours or families, in no other city than the good old New York as they count down towards the New Year.
In a tried and true formula, Garry Marshall does what he does best in creating a character-driven movie with many heart-warming moments and feel good factors in honour to this special occasion. There are tears, laughter, love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts – enough to make you look forward to your own kind of New Year (Eve) and be inspired to do something extraordinary. Clear to see though, the star-studded cast tries very hard to repress their celebrity status by playing ordinary people and while some succeeds (like Michelle Pfeiffer playing a miserable office secretary), some leaves you thinking they might as well use their own name (like Bon Jovi playing a rock star!)
To our delight, we actually found the little characters most enjoyable as they manage to steal the spotlight from some of the big names, such as Katherine Heigl’s sidekick in the film Sofia Vergara (both as chef in catering for the hottest NYE bash in town) whose sexy Spanish accent and funny flirtations with Bon Jovi’s character would make us laugh whenever she appeared on screen. Also worth noting is Jessica Biel’s convincing performance as a mother-in-waiting, determined to give birth once the New Year strikes in order to win the handsome monetary rewarded by the hospital.
New Year’s Eve is shot entirely on location in and around New York City and you can see this from all the different stories and scenes taking place to enwoven this magical tale. From the heights of ‘Ball Drop’ to the hustle and bustle at Time Square; the typical apartment lifts to suburban style homes; the quiet outskirts of town to the glamorous inner-city party venues; and ordinary train station to the hospital, a fine attention to detail is given to let us peek into what may be the everyday life in this legendary city (like a deeper ‘New York I Love You’ offers insight to). Thus we cannot help but think of Love Actually shot in UK which may have started this whole phenomenon of multi-tale films.
The music works well with the film in creating exciting (‘the countdown’), entertaining (‘the party’), nerve-racking (‘the date-making’) or moving (‘the family reunion’) atmosphere. Particularly touching is when Hilary Swanks character goes to the hospital to make amends with her dying father (Robert De Niro) who wishes to see the Ball Drop (which she organises) for the last time. Though lacking in originality, it takes great actor to make predictable subplots memorable which is far more rewarding than watching contriving scenes by the likes of Ashton Kutcher and annoying Lea Michele from Glee.
Overall, we believe New Year’s Eve is a perfect movie to see in this festive season as it celebrates all things wonderful and gratifying about this special occasion and promotes a good morale on what is important in life. You may not identify with every character in the movie but one of those little great stories will surely strike a chord with you long after you leave the cinema or for many years to come!
However, we do wonder what’s the next special occasion they will make a movie on? Cause Christmas (Love Actually) – TICK. Valentine’s Day – TICK. Now New Year’s Eve – TICK. Maybe 4th July? Thanksgiving? Or Halloween? I think we’re running out of ideas or are we being too conventional? Nevertheless leave it in the hands of Garry Marshall and his creative team and it definitely won’t be a flop! But the idea is a little overdone now and we’re looking for some originality in rom-coms…
New Year’s Eve opens in Australia on 8 December 2011.