Friday, December 9, 2011


New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve In recent years, there is a robust trend in China's filmmaking—in the end of each year, a few films are wildly released as "New Year's celebration film" (贺岁片). These films almost always have a large number of biggest stars, the highest expectation, the most expensive budget, and an ultimate goal to entertain, which means often they are comedy and blockbusters at the box office.

It looks like Hollywood is taking notice about this formula. For this holiday season, using a similar recipe, here comes a US-version of "New Year's celebration film" called "New Year's Eve" (USA 2011 | 118 min.).

The film gathers an impressive list of Hollywood's most recognizable actors, including many Oscar winners, to play in a multi-thread story. However, none of these plots stands out to be significant or interesting. The existence of many characters seems to serve one purpose only—so that a big star can be included in this film.

As if walking on the red carpet to attend the Golden Globe Award gala, these actors keep entering into the film while new subplots are constantly introduced. It is meaningless to enumerate each of these subplots, but they are basically falling into one of these categories: to reconciliation in a relationship, to seize the opportunity, or to give a second chance on the New Year's Eve of 2012. They are ludicrous and tiresome.

Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron in New Year's Eve

Never mind there are 24 time zones in this world. Somehow the countdown at Times Square becomes the turning point for a new year. No matter how freezing cold and chaotic on New Year's Eve at Times Square, people seem enjoy themselves for simply being there.

That might explain why these talented actors all sign up in this film, as if being casted in this film is similar to finding a perfect spot at Times Square on New Year's Eve. Nothing else matters.

Next year, instead of repeating this "New Year's celebration film" recipe from China, Hollywood should just import a film from China. At least that would be authentic. It is already noon in China when the giant ball drops at Times Square anyway.

"New Year's Eve," a Warner Bros. Pictures release, opens on Friday, December 9, 2011 at Bay Area theaters.

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