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A man returns to his sublet apartment to find the previous tenants, three offbeat young women, still in residence, under the mistaken belief that they have the apartment until the end of New Year's Day. Written by
Alexander Lum <firstname.lastname@example.org>
New Years Day isn't a terribly good movie, but somehow, it's still endearing.
Starring a cast of no names, and an awful early performance by David Duchovny (as well as rather good Milos Forman), New Years Day tells the story of 3 young women about to move out of an apartment they have shared for years, and the man who is moving in. the four spend new years day together, (psychoanalyzing each other) because of a misunderstanding of what the meaning of "through January first."
The film has a decent set up, and other than Duchovny, the acting is all solid.
However, director and star Henry Jaglom apparently doesn't do scripts, he does giant flow charts. Consequently, his actors are forced to improvise, and generally become defined more by their bundles of neuroses than by any redeeming aspects.
Case and point for this affliction is a character who spends the entirety of the film's third act, where the girls throw a going away party, explaining repeatedly that he avoids the pitfalls of sleeping with his psychoanalysis patients by sleeping with them first, then becoming their doctor. The joke is cute the first time, but by the 4th time it has been told, no one cares anymore.
The movie is rife with moments like this. The worst of which is a suicide attempt that seems not only unrealistic, but also to have been included because without the scene the suicide attemptee would have absolutely no motivation or purpose within the story.
All the same, there is some definite underlying charm to much of it. Jaglom gives a wonderful opening and closing monologue giving the film, which otherwise just sort of starts and stops, a feeling of closure and weight. And the improvised dialogue is largely successful in creating a naturalistic atmosphere. However, if you don't already buy into the concept of Feud, Jung and Psycho Analytical theory, you will probably spend much of the film rolling your eyes.
If you just love Woody Allen and Robert Altman but have already seen all of their films, or just can't get enough stories about mediocre looking Jewish men discussing philosophy and becoming intimate with attractive women half their age, New Years Day is the film for you.
For everyone else, it's good, but not great, a little self important, and ultimately pointless.
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