New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve is another attempt by director Gary Marshall to capture the magical charm of 2003’s Love Actually. The first try being the critical and consumer flop, Valentine’s Day. Just like the aforementioned films; NYE is an ensemble that revolves around nearly a dozen characters whose lives intersect as they struggle with different levels and kinds of love and commitment in the face of an exuberant New Year’s Eve night.

Unlike Valentine’s Day, NYE actually draws the audience in with plenty of laughter, charisma, New Year’s hope, and some major acting chops. You might be surprised to see the faces of Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Matthew Boderick, Cary Elwes, & Abigail Breslin (making her transitional debut).  Their acting experience carry this somewhat frothy topic to some rather emotional and even touching places.
De Niro is artfully paired with Berry (who has her own serious storyline with Common), Elwes, & Hilary Swank in a storyline about a man’s last New Year’s Eve with his daughter. This plot is juxtaposed with Jessica Biel’s & Seth Meyer’s race to deliver the first baby of the new year for a $25,000 prize. While the first scenario provides some real heart and gravity to the film, the latter provides wonderful humor and hope; particularly where they cross streams.

I am a huge fan of any entertainment where characters and storylines unknowingly interact. These intersecting subplots create a rich and textured world with so much variety you’re bound to hitch your heart to at least one tale. I saw evidence of this as the audience around me chortled, ooh’d & aw’d in all the right places. However, some might find the carousel of characters with the equal amounts of overlapping plots distracting or hard to follow.

New Year’s Eve wasn’t made to win Academy Awards, it was made to take the audience on an emotional ride and this goal is accomplished with gymnastic aplomb. With a little something for every movie goer, NYE is a worthy successor to its British cousin, Love Actually (which I loved). It’s also the only movie in which I did not mind seeing Katherine Heigl’s face.

New Year’s Eve is a pitch-perfect holiday picture that will have you laughing through the incredibly hilarious credits, leaving you with genuine feelings of happiness and in an after-glow hopefulness.

Maria Jackson
Review by Maria Jackson
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