Review in a Hurry: Director Garry Marshall rings in the new year the same way he celebrated Valentine’s Day…with a ginormous amount of stars woven into several interlocking stories, from Glee‘s Lea Michele to Oscar winner Robert De Niro. She gets stuck in an elevator with Ashton Kutcher. He plays a dying man whose nurse is Halle Berry. The enjoyment level of such a flick is equal to how much you want to see Michelle Pfeiffer get smooched by Zac Efron.
With so many names above the title, this party ain’t a total bust but at nearly two hours it sure seems like Hilary Swank is waiting forever for that big ball to drop on Time’s Square.
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The Bigger Picture: On one long night that feels like a year, a gazillion stars come out to dance, fall in love and see Jon Bon Jovi perform. They might have different reasons but they all need to be with someone when the clock strikes midnight. The plot threads come fast but not fast enough that the likelihood of Jessica Biel being knocked up by SNL‘s Seth Meyers is ever believable.
Some character traits seem to mirror the actor with their personas. Katherine Heigl plays a chef with a short fuse. And her assistant is the voluptuous Sofia Vergara who freaks out a lot but in that adorable Modern Family way.
But as is usually the case with films like these, most of the A-listers have very little to do.
Halle Berry is the hottest nurse ever as she tries to give dying De Niro the will to live long enough to see a brand new year but this pretty much amounts to curious looks at one another. Rinse. Repeat. Likewise, Josh Duhamel finds himself stuck hitching a ride to the Big Apple via a Winnebago swapping stories with “regular” folk. For most of the film.
Somehow in a great city like New York there’s not much happening…
When Marshall shot Valentine’s Day in Los Angeles he made good use of downtown, Santa Monica and West Hollywood. Here, the focus is on Time’s Square, of course, but most of the other locations are indoors which could have easily been shot on a studio back lot.
While a film like Love, Actually (still the gold standard for this type of film) had an understandable emphasis on romantic relationships, NYE didn’t have to. Sarah Jessica Parker plays a mom who wants to bond with her daughter (Abigail Breslin) but most every other plot is just about romance which gets old.
When a cameo by Matthew Broderick is just a set-up to name his character “Buellerton” it’s time to ring in the New Year and call it a night.
The 180—a Second Opinion: We joke about that kiss between Michelle and Zac, but their story is the highlight. Efron plays a bike messenger who makes a deal with Pfeiffer, a woman with a dead-end job. He has just the right amount of energy to complement Pfeiffer’s dowdy woman who’s never-been-in-love schtick.
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