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By Brad Wilke | December 8, 2008

Reminiscent of films like “The Anniversary Party”, “The Celebration” and various other improvised films where crazy dramatic things happen at a packed party, David Beatty’s “Surviving New Year’s” chronicles a party in the suburbs on the last day of the year.

The jittery camera and the choppy (read: sloppy) editing makes it difficult to make a connection to any of the characters and by the time 10 minutes have elapsed, the viewer is hopelessly lost among all the snippets of dialogue, confrontations and revelations that never manage to add up to a coherent whole. Characters come and go, scenes start and stop, people vomit, have sex, eat, yell at each other… ad infinitum.

It’s obvious that Beatty is trying to emulate directors such as Robert Altman, P.T. Anderson and others that do this sort of thing much better.

What I’m assuming is meant to be the dramatic centerpiece of the film (when one of the main characters attempts to throw his lover out of the party) devolves into a banal shouting match… and then the big reveal: the lover knows about the husband’s birthmark.

“Please tell me how she knows that.” (Repeat 23 times)

Apparently, there was no script (which seems to be all the rage these days) and, as a result, the actors just run wild, improv-ing their way around the house, running in circles and, sadly, going nowhere. Just like the movie they’re in.

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  1. Gary Altschuh says:

    While it’s not a perfect film, you’re not giving it the credit it deserves – at all.

    There are some very strong performances in this film from a very talented cast and some poignant moments.

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