Call off the dogs. The absolute worst poster of 2011 has been found. Just as surely as Adam Sandler regards viewers as mindless, indiscriminate subway rats, so, too, do the sickeningly shallow media makers pushing Garry Marshall’s “holiday” series, the McDonald’s-drive-thru answer to the sweetly experimental Je t’aime films. A touch of the bubbly meets a touch of evil in the latest one-sheet for New Year’s Eve, a tacky A-List nightmare that—can you believe it?!—boasts even more glossy celebrities than its saccharine predecessor, Valentine’s Day. These movies are insulting even in their conceptual stages, when it’s decreed that a mess of famous faces playing characters who can’t possibly see ample development is as valuable as a well-considered tale of folks with actual dimension. But the slap in the face is entirely unrestrained and out in the open with the New Year’s Eve poster, a ridiculous collage that any of us could have made on our lunch breaks if we had enough unused holiday gift wrap and back issues of Us Weekly.
Whereas the leading Valentine’s Day poster at least had an appropriate shape with which to frame its glitterati, this New Year’s Eve image, unable to squeeze the cast into a champagne-flute silhouette, opts for the laziest, most laughable grid in memory and sets it against a Party-City New York backdrop that’s cloying and contrived right down to the pixie-dust fireworks. It’s hard to think of a recent advertisement for anything that’s so transparently offensive, as from the exaggerated use of AmEx gold to the shameless showcasing of the shiny, happy 1 percent, it’s soulless commercialism at its most flagrantly manipulative.
The 24-karat nail in the coffin is the laughably artless use of headshots, which seems to have been concurrent with the film’s production since only about half of the photos seem pulled from an actual film still. The other half suggests an ad department with a fire lit under its ass, forced to scrounge up remaining cast-member photos and make them look somewhat passable. It’s conceivable that Sofía Vergara’s smize-surprise shot was plucked from the campaign of whatever product she’s salsa-fying these days (Invisalign?); however, though the scariest, her face is hardly the most egregious. The pic of Jon Bon Jovi (who plays “a successful rock star”) looks like it was yanked off the wall of some dive he frequented in the ’90s, the Sharpie signature conveniently cropped out. Hector Elizondo, who’s tasked to counteract the opulence by playing a pitiful bum, looks to have donned that beanie for a few pick-up shots as a personal favor to Marshall. And Ashton Kutcher, whose issues with one woman and Two and a Half Men evidently trump his ensemble involvement, clearly had his mug magic-wanded out of a toothier segment of “Stars—They’re Just Like Us!”
One could certainly go on (there’s all sorts of fun to be had with the blingy photo of Hilary Swank, who’s no stranger to lending her countenance to objectionable causes for a pretty penny), but best not to indulge this grotesqueness any further. New Line Cinema did release an initial New Year’s Eve poster, which had the decency to be moderately demure and stick with New York and New Year’s iconography. But such proved insufficient for a project with excess in it bones, and in answering the superficial call of “more, more, more,” the marketing powers that be gave in to their most gluttonous, abhorrent, and unsophisticated impulses. You could say they dropped the ball.