‘New Year’s Eve’ is the kind of movie a lot of moviegoers will wholeheartedly defend, because it’s nice, and pleasant, and non-threatening entertainment. And those same people would likely criticize any of the film’s naysayers as being artsy intellectuals who find value only in movies that are filled with suffering, angst and pretentious meaning.

For the record, I love pleasant. I adore goodhearted movies. And I don’t necessarily think sentimentality is a bad thing in movies. And I can appreciate a good romantic comedy.

‘New Year’s Eve’, though, is comfort food without nourishment. It’s got an empty head and a fake heart. It ingratiates itself to an audience to an insulting degree, it’s about as stuffed with cheese as any movie can tolerate, and it is completely inauthentic and manufactured from beginning to end. Nearly every creative decision in the movie seems to be a calculated ploy to appeal to as many demographics as possible; a calculation so phony and shameless that it becomes a big nothing in it’s desire to be everything. And there’s barely a whisper of surprise or uniqueness in the entire thing.

It’s the kind of movie you’ve already seen even if you haven’t seen it. For a much stronger example of the possibilities of an ensemble romantic comedy, see ‘Love Actually’ instead.