Because Garry Marshall’s star-studded ensemble romantic comedy Valentine’s Day was a huge hit just last year, he’s back 22 months later with New Year’s Eve, another tired retread of Love Actually that feels like exactly what it is: a faded copy of a pale imitation.
The ensemble includes, if you’re counting, a smattering of Emmy winners, three Academy Award winners, two Oscar nominees, and Jon Bon Jovi (though not in a pear tree). Here’s the cast in a nutshell: Hilary Swank is the woman responsible for organizing the ball drop in Times Square; Robert De Niro is a dying man who wants to see the New Year’s Eve celebration one more time, Halle Berry is a devoted nurse; Michelle Pfeiffer is a woman going through a midlife crisis who tries to finish off her bucket list in one day with the help of a handsome young messenger (Zac Efron); Sarah Jessica Parker is a concerned mother who won’t let her teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin) go out to watch the ball drop with friends; Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele are two strangers who are forced to spend hours together in a stuck elevator; and Katherine Heigl is a caterer working her first big assignment, which happens to be for a record-label party where her ex-boyfriend (Bon Jovi) will perform.
For a movie with this many plotlines to work, you need to be happy to revisit characters after you’ve left them for a few minutes. Ideally, all of the stories are so engaging that you’re interested in wherever the director takes you. But with New Year’s Eve, every time Marshall jumps to a new scene there’s nothing but disappointment, because you can’t believe you’re going to be stuck with these incredible bores again. From the dumb jokes to the one-dimensional characters to the end-credits blooper reel (which is funnier than the actual movie, but not by much), everything about New Year’s Eve is lazy and predictable. The whole thing wraps up with Lea Michele singing “Auld Lang Syne,” which helpfully reminds you that this movie should be forgotten and never brought to mind. leave a comment --Perry Seibert