Friday, December 9, 2011


Rated PG-13

Stars: Too numerous to mention (see below)

Director: Garry Marshall

Genre: Comedy/Romance

Check out these names: Robert De Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Hillary Swank,
Jon Bon Jovi, Jessica Biel, Abigail Breslin, Josh Duhamel, Halle Berry, Hector Elizondo, Katherine Heigle, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Zac Efron, Alyssa Milano, Carla Gugino, Jim Belushi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ryan Seacrest, Sienna Miller...OKAY, THAT'S ENOUGH, DAMMIT...because there are even MORE recognizable celebs in New Year's Eve--a film I had high hopes for, because dat be my favorite party time of the year!

Somehow, director Garry Marshall juggles this huge ensemble cast and its myriad intersecting story lines--mostly involving romantic foibles and folly--trying to connect, reconnect, or make amends for past misdeeds, as everybody gets kinda wistful on New Year's Eve (easy to do when you're falling down drunk!) It's a given what New Year's Eve is building toward--midnight on the last day of the year--when, for example, Katherine Heigle and Jon Bon Jovi's characters, who are ex-lovers, will make or break their chance at reconciliation. The kind of stuff that may pull at your heartstrings in a sappy, manipulative kind of way.

But too many characters = too much fragmentation = not enough character development. Wouldn't have mattered much anyway, because these are TV sitcom characters in a movie with TV sitcom laughs...meaning the funny parts are mostly lame, tame, and not really funny.

We've all seen the star-vehicle movies that were designed just to showcase the big name, and not much else (every ELVIS movie, for example). Same thing here, but with more stars and plotlines than you can shake a bottle of bubbly at, or care about keeping track of.

See, you'd think--or hope--that getting stuck in an elevator with hottie Lea Michele might produce more possibilities than having her blast a song in your ear at close quarters, (as she shouted out with Glee) but no--New Year's Eve is that vehicle for stars who sing to sing, and for stars who emcee television shows to emcee, and for stars who've become typecast for being in bad romantic comedies (Katherine, you're better than this) to be in another bad romantic comedy.

A fun thing you can do with New Year's Eve, though, is to try to spot all the celebs who are listed in the credits--like Penny Marshall. Where the hell was she? I didn't see her. Another one I missed was basketball star Amare Stoudemire, who is listed in the credits as a "party dancer."


Grade: C