Friday, December 9, 2011

New Year's Eve

New Year's Eve is the newest film by director Garry Marshall, and is sort of a follow-up to last year's Valentine's Day. Unfortunately, even though the formula was basically the same, NYE's script was not half as good as its predecessor's. On top of that, the movie is far too long, clocking in at 117 minutes ... and you know there's a problem when I enjoy the bloopers in the credits more than the actual movie. I would normally say that the problem was cramming too many characters into one movie; however, Valentine's Day managed to do that and make itself interesting too.

It's New Year's Eve in New York City, and everyone is getting ready for the ball to drop. Claire (Hilary Swank) is in charge of the ball-dropping spectacle herself, but she has somewhere urgent she needs to be at midnight. Tess (Jessica Biel) and her husband Griffin (Seth Myers) are waiting to have their first child, and they just found out that whoever gives birth at their hospital closest to midnight gets a cash prize. Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) has just quit her job, and she wants to complete her 2011 resolutions list before midnight, so she hires a bike messenger, Paul (Zac Efron), to help her complete the tasks. Stan (Robert De Niro) has rejected chemotherapy for his cancer, and is waiting in a hospital to die; Aimee (Halle Berry) is a kind nurse who doesn't mind spending the night talking to him. Laura (Katherine Heigl) is busy catering an event for the famous rock star Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi), with whom she happens to have a past. Randy (Ashton Kutcher) is trapped in an elevator with Elise (Lea Michele), a back-up singer for Jensen who needs to get to Times Square before midnight.

And if that's not enough for you, there's more ... Hailey (a grown-up Abigail Breslin) desperately wants to get to Times Square at midnight to be kissed, but her mom (Sarah Jessica Parker) absolutely forbids it. Sam (Josh Duhamel) has a problem because he needs to get into the city for a meeting, but his car just broke down. We also have Ryan Seacrest as himself, Hector Elizondo, Penny Marshall (as herself), Ludacris, Matthew Broderick, and Sofia Vergara; in short, New Year's Eve definitely has no shortage of star power.

However, the stories just didn't click. A lot of them were interconnected, as Marshall tends to do, and because each character only got maybe ten minutes of screen time max, with the exception of a few of the major ones, we never really get to spend any time with any of them. You've got your typical make-ups, break-ups, I'm-stuck-in-an-elevator-with-a-hot-guy, who-will-I-kiss-at-midnight scenarios here, but the characters are not fully developed enough to be interesting. The pairings are a bit odd too - I never would have thought I'd see Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeiffer in the same movie, for example, with Pfeiffer playing a timid woman who hasn't completed any of her 2011 resolutions yet - and some of the couples involved romantically are definitely are ten or twenty years apart age-wise, which was surprising.

No, don't see this film. I was debating giving it a "Maybe" rating, because I did laugh at a few of the scenes, but at the end of the day I would really rather just rent Valentine's Day or even Love Actually on DVD over seeing this movie again. Despite all of its blatant star power, none of the characters or scenes will really resonate with you the day after watching it, and you might even have trouble remembering some of it because there were so many scenes jam-packed in the movie. I'm all for "fluff films" or "chick flicks," but not if they have structure and/or script problems, and by the end of New Year's Eve I had checked my watch three or four times already, which is the mark, for me, of an uninteresting film.

New Year's Eve is in theaters today, December 9th, and is rated PG-13 with a runtime of 117 minutes.

2 stars out of 5.

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