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New Year's Eve Review

By Beth McCabe

A Night's Tale


It's that time of year. The holidays are here, which means families will be looking for some diversion from familial tension and a way to pass a few hours while sweating through the food coma. So here comes the star-studded cast of "New Year's Eve" to save the day. Unfortunately it's as sparkly and flimsy as a tinsel-laden fake tree.

Fake being the operative word, here. Full of gloss and saccharine and far too many fake tans for December, "New Year's Eve" is surprising in that it feels so disingenuous. A collection of vignettes that occasionally intersect but are otherwise more or less disconnected, the film is downright deliberate about making sure there's something for everyone. Of course in doing so, it misses the mark on almost all counts. The stories are boring and there are few characters you actually connect with. And while it does manage a couple of tear-jerking moments, they're so self-consciously contrived that they make you hate the movie (and yourself, a little bit) every time they're squeezed out of you.

Where are all the people? For a movie about NYE in NYC, the streets should beteeming with revelers and wild drunkenness and *noise*. Instead, it's only busy when it suits the plot and at improbable times the streets are actually empty (in Chinatown? Really??). Never has Times Square felt so much like a sound stage - which is impressive for a film shot on location.

There's not much to say about the plot. It's New Year's Eve and the theme is rebirth (big stretch there) and second chances. And, of course, various obstacles that lead to various couplings. Various improbable couplings. Various head-scratchingly strange couplings. Oh, and then there's Nurse Aimee (Halle Berry), who has a romantic reveal that just makes you groan and roll your eyes. "Love, Actually" was clearly what "New Year’s Eve" was aiming for, but it got one thing very wrong... In "Love, Actually", the stories were actually interesting.

Yes, Garry Marshall (who also directed "Valentine's Day" - see the trend?) is clearly banking on his all-star cast to draw the crowds to this one. Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Jessica Parker, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro (whaaaa??), Abigail Breslin, Josh Duhamel, Ashton Kutcher, Jon Bon Jovi, Lea Michelle (who inexplicably gets more song time than Bon Jovi), Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, and of course Katherine Heigl (who somehow belongs in movies like this)... even Cary Elwes (remember him?) gets his moment. If you like these people and seeing them all in a movie together is enough to entertain you, this may is the film for you. If not, well, even a couple awkward hours with your in-laws are bound to be better.

What did you think?

Movie title New Year's Eve
Release year 2011
MPAA Rating PG-13
Our rating
Summary Even the star-studded cast offers little to recommend this glossy, flimsy holiday movie.
View all articles by Beth McCabe
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