Last year, New Line put out the highly successful chick flick ‘Valentine’s Day‘, an ensemble story about more than a dozen people in Los Angeles on the romantic holiday. The result was a formulaic, poor man’s ‘Love Actually‘. Everything had been done before, and the strings that tied all the characters together in the end were thin. Yet as bad as I thought ‘Valentine’s Day’ was, ‘New Year’s Eve’ is even worse.
‘Valentine’s Day’ director Garry Marshall and writer Katherine Fugate are back at it with basically the same movie, only set in New York City and centered around the ball dropping in Times Square. This time around, there are even more cameos, clichés and predictable endings. The film stars Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Common, Cary Elwes, Alyssa Milano, Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, Carla Gugino, Katherine Heigl, Jon Bon Jovi, Sofia Vergara, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, James Belushi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Josh Duhamel, Penny Marshall, Hilary Swank, Ludacris, Ryan Seacrest, John Lithgow and Matthew Broderick. Several of the actors also appeared in ‘Valentine’s Day’, but don’t play the same characters. Considering how much the ads link the two movies together, you might assume that this is a sequel. It’s not.
The only thing more annoying than the cookie-cutter characters of ‘New Year’s Eve’ is its abundance of product placement. If you thought that Michael Bay was ruthless with it, wait until you see the blatant product placement and cross-promotional advertising going on here. No joke, Robert Downey Jr. gets more screen time via the many ‘Sherlock Holmes’ posters on screen than some of the people actually acting in the movie.
Last week, I posted a story where the President of Universal Studios explained that movie studios want nothing more than to make money. After having that point emphasized and driven home, it’s now clear to me that we are the only ones who can change that. Theoretically, if we stop seeing the garbage they pump out, the generic and formulaic cash cows, the studios will have to make more quality pictures to get our attention. ‘New Year’s Eve’ only exists because ‘Valentine’s Day’ made the studio lots of money. This vicious cycle needs to stop now. If we support it, we will only see more of it, and that’s no one’s fault but our own.