1 out of 5 stars
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Opens locally Friday, December 9th, 2011
Run Time: 1 hour 58 minutes, Rated PG-13
Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Seth Meyers, Jessica Biel, Hilary Swank, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashton Kutcher, Sofia Vergara, Jon Bon Jovi, Katherine Heigl, Common, Lea Michele, Josh Duhamel
Directed by Garry Marshall (Valentine's Day, Runaway Bride, Pretty Woman, Beaches)
Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve opens up with a voice-over that tells us that some people say there is no excitement or magic left in the world. Well if there is, none of it found its way into this film. Using the same formula that he used in last year's Valentine's Day, New Year's Eve gives us seemingly hundreds of well-known actors and actresses playing cardboard-thin cliches who's lives and relationships are intertwined. I've never had more anticipation for the New Year's Eve ball drop in all of my life, since I would assume the story would end on New Year's Day.
The problem with movies like this is that they're a gimmick. There are so many stars crammed into one film, that there is little time for characterization and/or plot. The only joy in the film comes from that "who are we going to see next" feeling that the film generates. In addition to the many high-profile names listed above, there are several more all-star cameos peppered throughout the film, all of which pose for a few seconds for the camera when the appear, so that the audience can say "oh, there's so and so from that one movie/TV show!" The joy is fleeting.
With too many mangled, boring, and tired plot threads woven throughout, I'll hit on just a few, and won't name names as to protect many of their careers. Everything in the film takes place in New York City leading up to the Times Square Ball Drop which we all know signifies the New Year. We have an executive in charge of getting the ball to drop, but a light-bulb outage causes the ball to stop working. Gasp! Do you think they'll fix it in time? Elsewhere a performer is in town trying to reconnect with his ex, whom he proposed to and then left town. I wonder if they'll get back together? Around the block, two young people get trapped in an elevator for 8 hours, and they aren't too fond of each other. There happens to be a bag of New Year's decor in the elevator with them. Wonder if that will get any use later in the film? A dying father is told he has little time left, and all's he wants is be brought up to the roof so he can see the ball drop. But that, sir, would be against hospital policy. Wonder if he'll make it up there.
There are more threads, like two couples who are racing to have their baby be the first-born on the New Year, so that they can cash in on a $25,000 prize. Not only are these plot-lines predictable, they are unfunny. Some are just downright offensive, such as Sofia Vergara's female Latino stereotype. She plays a similar character on TV's Modern Family, but here she is without quality writing. She is reduced to a racist stereotype that would be more common on New Year's Eve 1919, not 2012. She wasn't the only one that I kept thinking deserved better.
And the ending? I wouldn't dare spoil such an inventive (gag) ending, other than to say that the "mystery woman" makes totally no sense and is unexplainable even within the reality of the movie.
I could see the appeal by the actors to be part of such a massive ensemble, but I really hope director Garry Marshall calls it quits with this new string of movies. What's next, Arbor Day? Easter: The Movie? If you're a fan of any of the stars of New Year's Eve, do them a favor and go see them in something other than this.
Should old acquaintance be forgot? If by "old acquaintance" you mean this film, than most definitely.
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