Published Dec 08, 2011Two years ago, director Garry Marshall helmed the jam-packed, star-studded Valentine's Day, which received by far the most painful critiques filmgoers have seen applied to a film project by the director. Unfortunately, Marshall's latest offering featuring A-list stars makes Valentine's Day look like the Pulp Fiction of rom-coms, as he delivers an even more nauseating seasonally-themed dud than his last.
As one expects, the film takes place on New Year's Eve 2011 and follows separate groups of people, who are inevitably connected in many different ways, as they make their way to each of their NYE celebrations.
The film is chockfull of hollow, generic subplots, including a rock star named Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi) trying to desperately win back the heart of jaded ex-fiancé Laura (Katherine Heigl), before he takes the stage to play at Times Square. Two couples (Jessica Biel and Seth Meyers, Sarah Paulson and Til Schweiger) compete to have their babies delivered first at midnight so they can win a 25,000-dollar prize from the hospital. A terminally ill man (Robert Deniro) tries to convince his nurse (Halle Berry) to let him watch the ball drop at midnight before he passes. And a needy mother (Sarah Jessica Parker) chases her hormonally charged daughter (Abigail Breslin) around Times Square.
Viewers also get to witness a creepy cougar subplot involving a frumpy secretary (Michelle Pfeiffer) who enlists the help of a young courier messenger (Zac Efron) to help her fulfil her bucket list before midnight in exchange for tickets to the most "happening" party of the year.
However, the central plot revolves around the goofy, yet likable, Vice President of the Times Square Alliance (Hilary Swank), who spends the entirety of the film trying the fix the legendary Times Square Ball so it can drop at midnight, which is ironic considering the film manages to drop the ball the second the audience members are forced to uncomfortably watch Abigail Breslin's character flash her bra to her mother early on.
New Year's Eve is nowhere as effective or enjoyable as superior cult film 200 Cigarettes, and unless you're a huge nostalgia or music lover, that's not saying much. The character development is especially lacking and the climax is lazy. If New Year's Eve had spent more time on character building and somewhat tolerable dialogue instead of focusing on cheesy montages, Lea Michele's cringe-worthy singing and the offensive racist stereotypes of its non Caucasian characters, then each predictable outcome would have been far more tolerable.
Regrettably, everyone involved in this tries too hard to entertain the viewers and just like the holiday itself, New Year's Eve proves that when you try too hard, things never go as planned. (Warner)