The lives of several couples and singles in New York intertwine on New Year’s Eve. Read the review for more.
Business rating: 2 / 5 stars
Star cast: Ashton Kutcher, Robert De Niro, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Katherine Heigl, Sofia Vergara, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hilary Swank, Josh Duhamel, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron.
What’s Good: The cleverly written screenplay; the interesting characterisations; the dash of humour and emotions.
What’s Bad: The excessive number of characters in the script; a couple of boring tracks; the absence of any high points in the narrative.
Verdict: New Year’s Eve is a feel-good film which is fun while it lasts. It will do average business in the Indian cities.
Loo break: A couple.
Watch or Not?: Watch New Year’s Eve for its interesting take on love and relationships.
New Line Cinema, Rice Films and Karz Entertainment’s New Year’s Eve is about the incidents that happen with a bunch of people on New Year’s Eve in New York.
Randy (Ashton Kutcher) is a comic artist who is angry at all the celebrations because it’s New Year’s Eve, 2011. Incidentally, he gets stuck in a lift for many hours, with a back-up singer, Elise (Lea Michele), who is on her way to a concert at the Times Square, where she is scheduled to sing for the pop sensation, Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi).
On the other hand, Jensen, before playing at the Times Square, attends an exclusive private party where Laura (Katherine Heigl), his ex-girlfriend whom he had proposed and immediately dumped exactly a year ago, is in charge of the catering. Laura is furious when Jensen tries to talk to her but mellows down over the evening when her assistant, Ava (Sofia Vergara), makes light of the situation.
Griffin (Seth Meyers) and Tess (Jessica Biel) is a young couple who find out that they can win $25,000, provided Tess, who is expecting soon, gives birth at the stroke of midnight. As they need the money, they try all kinds of things to induce birth, and, at the same time, compete with another couple who want to beat them to the prize.
A divorced dress designer, Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker), is aghast when she discovers that her 15-year old daughter, Hailey (Anigail Breslin), does not want to spend New Year’s Eve at home, as is custom, but with her young boyfriend at the Times Square. Kim manages to ground Hailey but the latter escapes to freedom at the first chance.
Paul (Zac Efron) is a young and spirited courier boy who decides to take a much older woman, Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), for an adventure around New York because she promises him tickets to an exclusive New Year’s Eve party if he can fulfill her list of New Year resolutions.
Claire (Hilary Swank) is the leader of the Times Square Association which is responsible for handling the festivities, especially the iconic ‘ball drop’. However, Claire runs into trouble when the ball, which is the main attraction for many at midnight, stops functioning properly. Brendan (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), a police officer and her friend, is there to help her.
Stan (Robert De Niro) is an old, dying man who has refused medication for his cancer. His last wish is to see the Times Square ‘ball drop’ at the stroke of 12, as it has been his ritual for many years. When everyone leaves, a gentle nurse, Aimee (Halle Berry), keeps him company.
Sam (Josh Duhamel) is a young executive who is preparing for a speech he is to give at a party on New Year’s Eve. When his car breaks down en route to New York, he takes a ride from an eccentric but nice family travelling in a trailer.
What happens to these characters as the evening progresses and how their lives intertwine around midnight is what the rest of the film is all about.
New Year’s Eve Review: Script Analysis
Katherine Fugate’s story of several characters converging at a common point/place is of the kind that one has seen many times over. But what is novel here is the manner in which she has managed to maintain the characters as individuals rather than mere vessels to carry forward the film’s plot to a predetermined conclusion. As such, it is the quirky characters – as uni-dimensional as they might be otherwise – that keep the viewers interested in the narrative rather than the story as such, especially in the beginning.
Towards the latter half of the film, as the characters start interacting amongst each other, the audience’s engagement increases. The writer pervades the script with a feel-good sense throughout, by depicting new relationships being formed, by depicting strangers who help others, etc. As such, the story is filled with mildly emotional moments. The end portion of the film – which actually has a few clever surprises in store – tops up the overall satisfying experience.
However, there are a couple of major problems in Fugate’s screenplay. Firstly, the abundance of characters and the situations they find themselves in, practically unsettles the audience for the first half of the film, when it tries to keep track of what’s happening with each character. Not that this is necessarily a minus point but the fact that a couple of tracks (for example, Paul and Ingrid’s) are not as interesting as the others, is something that makes the engagement level dip at regular intervals. Secondly, there are no high points in the drama. Maybe, this is intentional on the part of the writer, but no moment stands out in the mind of the viewer after the film is over. In fact, even the much-talked about ‘ball drop’ has not been shot very well.
New Year’s Eve Review: Star Performances
Ashton Kutcher is, surprisingly, natural as Randy. Lea Michele impresses as Randy’s lift-mate. Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel, as the expectant parents, are good. Their track makes the audience smile. Jon Bon Jovi (as rock star Jensen) and Katherine Heigl (as Laura) try hard but they look ill at ease in most scenes. Instead, Sofia Vergara (as Ava) is the one who has the audience in splits with her sharp Latino accent and her sultry but funny characterisation. Michelle Pfeiffer (as Ingrid) is competent. Zac Efron (as young Paul) acts with effortless ease. Sarah Jessica Parker (Kim) looks and acts her character well. Anigail Breslin, as the teenage daughter, is proficient. Hilary Swank cannot do justice to her role as the nervous and jittery Times Square floor manager. However, the conclusion of her character’s story presents a mild surprise for the audience. Halle Berry does well as Nurse Aimee. Robert De Niro does as required in the role of the old, dying man. Josh Duhamel (as Sam) and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges are alright in bit roles. Others support well.
New Year’s Eve Review: Direction &Technical Aspects
Garry Marshall’s direction infuses love into every scene of the film. John Debney’s background score is very good. Charles Minsky’s cinematography is just fine. Editing, by Michael Tronick, is sharp.
New Year’s Eve Review: The Last Word
On the whole, New Year’s Eve is entertaining fare while it lasts. Expect it to do average business in the Indian metros.