by Dan Fields
First published December 10, 2011 by the California Literary Review
Rain Down, Mayan Apocalypse!
It is safe to predict that any further attempts by director Garry Marshall to cobble a legitimate genre out of celeb-stuffed holiday-themed rom-coms will probably face a cold audience. New Year’s Eve, is a very tired run up the same hill as its modestly successful ancestor, Valentine’s Day, and manages to recapture exactly none of that film’s charm or appeal. People well outside the Valentine’s Day target audience can still see what works about that movie. It was no gem, but it balanced earnest romantic comedy with a gentle spoofiness that we could all roll our eyes at and say, “Aww…” Irrepressibly cute is one way to describe it, and most people can get on board with that now and again.
New Year’s Eve chooses to fatten us, like doomed holiday geese, on bland sentimentality rather than sweet delicious comedy. It is not satisfying in the least, but you sure get your fill quickly. The allure of celebrating New Year’s Eve at Times Square or Radio City Music Hall is clear, but here, in place of an actual dramatic problem, it has been over-romanticized to life and death importance in the lives of these characters. Continue reading