Tuesday, December 20, 2011
#261: New Year's Eve
A set of eight stories, an ensemble of actors a range as wide as perhaps the Himalayas themselves in magnitude, a festive theme and released around New Year- yes it's a formula and yes it's worked before and yes it almost works yet again in this 2011 release.
First let's dwell onto why it works. Its a compilation of eight stories so it had to move pretty quickly from one story to another. New Year's Eve does that- the stories are interwoven seamlessly and cut back and forth without causing you to strain your senses. The actors don't really have anything demanding to perform so that way the performers don't cause too much of a mayhem. Most actors don't have a screen presence of more than four to five minutes so before they get on your nerves, they're out of the way. The music's mediocre but the fast-paced editing by Michael Tronick makes up for it and director Garry Marshal's marshaling of these eight tracks is swift.
And now why I say it only almost works. First because its all predictable- to the T. It is a formula film and it works like one. Some of the surprise scenes have no punch because of that very reason and if you've seen Love Actually, this would be nothing more than a deja vu. And is there a standout performance among the multitude of actors here- well that's a resounding no. So the film ends up being like a bottle of Coca-Cola from which you know what to expect but when there's no fizz in the bottle, it only excites you that much.
All in all, this is a film that's warm but lacking in warmth, that's sweet but it's got more sucrose than necessary and most importantly a film that had a heart but little in terms of soul. You can at best watch it on DVD and buy one of those cheap roadside ones. You'll more than get your worth even if the print's a bit awry.