Last February, before a trailer had been spliced together with the entrails of Rainbow Killer’s career, before the marketing blitz had rolled out, and even before filming had begun on New Year’s Day, I took a stab at predicting the entire plot of New Year’s Day based solely on the casting. I was 80-85 percent correct. In fact, if I was guilty of anything in my prediction, it was assuming too much: I expected that there would be a common association between more characters instead of mostly isolated subplots that didn’t even bother with the tenuous connection.
Yet, while I knew almost every detail of the plot to New Year’s Eve going in, nothing could prepare me for the experience of watching the movie. It was like being pelted by dead puppies: So cute, but so lifeless and painful. Director Garry Marshal machine-guns dead puppies at the audience, inanimate balls of cuddly, limp broken bodies with sharp teeth that take one gash after another out of moviegoers’ souls, until the audience is covered in bruises and buried in a confetti of matted fur and dead-puppy gore.
It’s a gruesome, hollow, shitty meaningless poor excuse for a film. Awful doesn’t even begin to explain it. It’s grim, miserable and unpleasant, joyless and irritating, and demeaning to the intelligence of bullfrogs. In structure, it’s no different than Valentine’s Day: A lot of recognizable faces haphazardly stitched together like a blow-up Frankenstein, lit with a heat lamp to keep the mushy leftovers warm, and scored by a drunk who can’t keep his finger off the goddamn SWELL button. If you want a plot synopsis, just read my prediction. Halle Berry played the nurse to the dying Robert DeNiro character, while Sarah Paulson played the other pregnant woman, but it’s otherwise almost entirely accurate. It’s a nearly two-hour movie with literally 21 main characters, not even including smaller roles for Common, James Belushi, Joey McIntyre, Larry Miller, Alyssa Milano, and Cary Elwes, which means that each main character gets maybe nine or ten minutes of screen time apiece. It’s impossible even to critique performances because no one is onscreen long enough to make an impression, and the very idea of chemistry between any two actors is preposterous. They’re just character husks filled with teeth that have been Crest white-stripped down to the gleaming white nubbins.
It’s like a movie based on a Times Square brochure that’s 75 percent ad space. New Year’s Eve is actually a two-hour commercial for three other films, a dozen electronic companies, and the fading careers of most of the stars. Even the blooper reel at the end of the film is painful to watch because the actors, each of whom probably spent only two days on set, know each other so little that when they screw up a line, instead of laughing, they seem awkwardly apologetic. It’s a remarkably stupid film, wish-fulfillment wrapped around a gooey New Years’ ball of suck that never seems to drop, a dumb movie for dumb people who like dumb things. So please, if you’re a simple-minded moron who doesn’t have three brain cells to rub together then, by all means, go see this movie. It is specifically tailored to your limited capacity for intelligent thought.