Honestly, Love, Actually was not a bad movie. Unfortunately, its success taught Hollywood a terrible lesson: Cram a crapload of stars into one flick, and the masses will pay to see it. Off course, by "masses," we mean women, because we're the ones these projects are aggressively marketed towards. After He's Just Not That Into You made $94 million by being tied to a holiday (Valentine's Day) in 2009, New Line Cinema — a division of Warner Brothers — decided to try and repeat the formula by creating a project called Valentine's Day. Stars signed on and then a plot was dreamed up, and when that "worked" — as in, people went to go see it — they decided to try again, this time with New Year's Eve. The problem, of course, is that these Love, Actually copycat movies — casting stunts pegged to holidays — are not good. They do not come from a writer aching to tell a well-crafted tale. They don't even come from a director longing to shoot something beautiful and meaningful. Instead of coming to the screen to tell a memorable story, they exist solely to extract money from your wallet. And today, New Year's Eve hits theaters, aiming to do just that. But be warned: Film critics (who are, after all, movie enthusiasts) feel that this thing is a steaming pile of shit.
Below, a sampling of reviews:
New Year's Eve is a depressing two-hour infomercial pitching Times Square as the only place in the universe you want to be when the ball drops at midnight on Dec. 31. (Believe me, it's not.)… The New Yorkers in this film are predominantly white, middle-to-upper-class Manhattanites, and there is no hardship in sight. — Stephen Holden, New York Times
What can be said about a movie that is nice and awful? That has a warm spirit and is 100 percent phony? That has all the stars in the galaxy and all the appeal of rotting fish? …The jokes are corny and not funny. There really may not be a single laugh in the picture. The moments of tender feeling have no feeling at all. Even Ashton Kutcher looks uncomfortable, as though the whole thing were beneath his dignity - even his dignity. — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
I have zero reservations about telling you how much I loathed New Year's Eve, a soul-sucking monument to Hollywood greed and saccharine holiday culture. It's New Year's Eve in the drabbest-looking Big Apple ever, populated by the least witty and insightful human beings ever. Here is what passes for a high-comedy insult: "You're a really charming guy. Where do you work, the DMV?" Seth Meyers, for shame. — Sara Stewart, New York Post
New Year's Eve exists as a particularly soulless example of a movie that's less made than machined, assembled according to an algorithmic formula known only to the widget-twisters and bottom-line-feeders at Warner Brothers whose sole purpose in life is to separate trusting filmgoers from their money without providing commensurate value… Clocking in at an unforgivable two hours, New Year's Eve perpetrates the same forced jollity, oversize proportions and crass superficiality as the very holiday it so wanly exploits. Behind all the noisemakers and funny glasses, New Year's Eve — and everyone in it — is dead behind the eyes. — Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
New Year's Eve is a dreary plod through the sands of time until finally the last grain has trickled through the hourglass of cinematic sludge. …I'm not even going to begin to summarize the paltry series of subplots the all-star cast is trapped in. I like you too much. — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…We don't care about any of these people and their problems, because they seem neither real nor interesting nor amusing; instead, we note how nice everybody's hair looks, and wonder whether De Niro is now reading screenplays blindfolded… — Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times
…Mayans might have predicted the end of the world in 2012, but could they have known that the countdown to eternal hellfire would begin with Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve? — Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
Why bother with a new title? New Year's Eve is simply 2010's Valentine's Day all over again, and it's about as appealing as a flute of cheap Champagne left over from the last holiday… The stories are woven together in the clumsiest, most obvious fashion… Sitting through New Year's Eve is like attending a crowded party filled with pretty people who have nothing to say. — Claudia Puig, USA Today
…Offering around a dozen barely there, aggressively agreeable mini-stories spliced together and spit out with lawnmower-style eloquence, the film is pushed to punishing lengths by the engorged cast list, which prevents any individual plot from deepening beyond single-sentence character descriptions and dilemmas. The overall effect is like being crushed under an avalanche of throw pillows. — Andrew Barker, Variety
This is more of a clown car than a movie. — David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer
Director Garry Marshall follows last year's Valentine's Day romcom crapfest with an even more puke-up-able sample of the species. This time it's New Year's Eve when an all-star cast lines up to collect paychecks – at our expense! Choke on it, greedy actors! …Early in the film, Pfeiffer falls into a rancid pile of garbage. I can't think of a better metaphor for the movie, which leaves a stink on everyone associated with it. — Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Compiled with the assistance of Doug Barry.