As basically an American Love Actually with a fraction of the acting talent, I knew it would be terrible. Afterwards, I was pleasantly surprised, but only a little. The film has no real storyline, instead taking the form of a series of vignettes showing the New Year’s Eve of several seemingly unrelated people around New York City.
I was instantly assaulted by an onslaught of cheese in the form of a song that sounded like it was ripped from HSM. Very few of the characters seem original, with a few glowing exceptions. Hilary Swank as the official in charge of the festivities seemed, at first, to be a character with no depth. As the film progressed, I realised she was meant to seem shallow in order to line you up for one of several twists later on.
Josh Duhamel, as the record company heir trying to find ‘the one that got away’, received most screen attention, which I feel was an insult to the rest of the cast. Alongside names like Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Halle Berry, his screen time seemed unjustified. In his defence, the scenes with De Niro as the dying cancer patient and Berry as his nurse were sickeningly heartwarming. I’m not sure I could stomach any more time than was given to them, especially when De Niro’s memory fails and he mistakes Berry for his dead wife.
The cheese overload reached critical mass when Swank’s ball wouldn’t drop (LOL), and rather than tell the world it was broken, she made up some twaddle about it being suspended to allow us to remember friends made and lost, promises made and broken, and then I phased out as Lea Michele and Bon Jovi began to sing.
Now for the pleasant surprise I mentioned: Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron. Their scenes were perhaps the best in the film and deserved more screen time. Pfeiffer played a disillusioned secretary, who, with Efron’s help, is determined to fulfil all her failed New Year’s resolutions. The chemistry between these two was surprising, and I was agog at how well this worked.
Unfortunately, this was not enough to save the film. This was intended as a sequel to Valentine’s Day, and even features some of the same actors, but the reworking into an unrelated film is obvious, with half the scenes seeming out of place.