|So many subplots....so don't care.|
From Gary Marshall, the man behind Pretty Woman and A League of Their Own, this already forgotten star-studded turkey from 2011 follows the same formula from 2010's Valentine's Day: a series of vignettes which either serve as comedic set pieces, or dramatic ones, depending on the script. Some characters are looking for love. Some are looking for second chances. Some of these stories connect and collide with one another. Some are just purely stand alones. Here are just a few of the stories from this film: Hillary Swank plays the VP of the Times Square Alliance, a group dedicated to the planning of the big ball drop in the heart of NYC's big event. She's stressed out because she's a workaholic and wants every minute detail of the even to go down without a hitch. Another story, featuring Zac Effron as a bike messenger and Michelle Pfeiffer as a recently unemployed secretary for a record company, is a challenge to knock off everything on her Year-End Bucket List (because everyone has that sort of list of things they want or need to accomplish before New Year's), and, as a reward, she will give him two tickets to the hottest party in the city. Speaking of said party, Bon Jovi playing...well, a rock susperstar, is at said party of the year, in order to win back the woman he dumped last year, Katherine Heigl. No, really. By the power of contrivance, she's also a caterer at the event, hosted by Josh Durhamel, who plays the son of the late founder of the recording company that Pfeiffer's character got fired from, who is sponsoring the party. His dilemma is just getting to the party in time, all whist longing to search for the woman he fell in love with last New Year's Eve, but wasn't smart enough to get her number or address. Hell, he doesn't even remember her name, for crying out loud! At a hospital, Oscar-winner Robert DeNiro (no, really - he's in this mess) is a terminally ill cancer patient, who just wants to watch the Times Square Ball drop one last time before he bites the dust. His nurse is another Oscar-winner - Halle freaking Berry. in the same hospital, a couple expecting their first child is in a competition to have their baby born fist in order to win a cash prize. The couple is Seth Meyers (why????) and Jessica Biel, who go through wacky hijinks just to make sure the baby is born the night of the ball drop. Meanwhile, Sarah Jessica Parker is having trouble with her teenage daughter, played by Abagail Breslin (ugh!), who wants to spend New Year's with her gal pals Samantha, Charolette, and Miranda, along with her BF, Mr. Big. I wish - then this movie would be slightly interesting to watch. SJP is also looking to find the man she fell in love with last New Year's Eve. I bet you can't guess who that is!
There are other subplots and characters in this film looking for sometime to do, or to liven up this bloated and shallow script, but it's not like you're going to remember them, or their maladies after it ends, much less care in the slightest, which is one of the problems I had with New Year's Eve. Another is the predictability and the overload of contrivance this picture has. We already know things are going to go wrong for Swank's character and that it''ll go off without a hitch before the final countdown begins; like we know that DeNiro will see the ball drop before his character dies and the iconic actor from roles like a younger Vito Corelone in The Godfather Part II and Jimmy "the Gent" Conaway in Goodfellas collects his earnings for his appearance in this movie; like we already know that Duharmel and Carrie will find each other again and share a final scene kiss and embrace which, without it, we wouldn't have the pose for the film's poster! There's no surprises in this thing, and what we're left with is a plodding and boring exercise in actors being given bland material to work with and expected to spin pure chick-flick sludge into gold for a paycheck.
1/2 star out of ****
And on a personal note, I want to thank you for reading my reviews, rants and musings from this year, all the way from the beginning back in October of 2012, and that I hope you all have a very safe and happy new year. Next week, I'll have my list of the best films of the past year, any some other things I'm working on. Until then, take care, and I'll see you all in 2014!