New Year's Eve Directed by: Garry Marshall Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Ludacris, Seth Meyers, Jon Bon Jovi, Katherine Heigl, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron Running Time: 1 hr 58 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: December 9, 2011
PLOT: Many individuals and couples in New York City look for what is truly important to them over the course of New Year's Eve.
WHO'S IT FOR? Liking the film Valentine's Day obviously helps. Otherwise, you need to have about six people you are extremely excited to see from this cast.
EXPECTATIONS: I didn't hate Valentine's Day, but it definitely felt lazy, without many real moments. Could the sequel actually improve on this big-cast idea? I didn't have a lot of faith.
We're going to do things a little different with this Scorecard Review and only break down the couples/situations. There won't be specific TALKING/SIGHTS/SOUNDS/PLOT SPOILER sections.
ACTORS: Michelle Pfeiffer as Ingrid & Zac Efron as Paul: Pfeiffer ... what the hell? Ingrid is an executive assistant who has an extremely odd list of things to do. Paul is a bike messenger who is willing to help. I actually was trying to figure out if Ingrid had Asperger's Syndrome. She is insanely socially awkward, and it's never explained. Does she have 15 cats at home? Plus, with this list of things to do, was she thinking this was realistic? Paul does his best to wiggle around the oddity of it all and complete the list. I needed Ingrid to snap and become a psycho for me to get anything out of this pair. That's not what you want out of a romantic comedy. Score: 2
Robert De Niro as Stan & Halle Berry as Nurse Aimee: Don't worry, De Niro and Berry don't hook up. Stan is dying and wants to live long enough to see New Year's Eve. Aimee is just sweet enough to help. Stan's doctor, played by Cary Elwes, is pretty much overlooked in a film with too many names to begin with. The twists these characters take help the film a little, but not much. De Niro doesn't really offer anything brilliant until the end credits, when it looks like he had fun making the film (while lying in bed for a couple of days). Score: 5
Jessica Biel as Tess Byrne & Seth Meyers as Griffin Byrne: They are pregnant and find out the first baby of the new year gets $25,000. Comedy ensues! Oh wait, no, not really. There are some attempted jokes with making pregnancy a competition with another couple. I guess Meyers didn't use any of his SNL writing talent to improve his jokes. He's saddled with a lame "water breaking" joke. Also, the final result of this situation is strained compassion at best. Score: 4
Katherine Heigl as Laura & Jon Bon Jovi as Jensen: Jovi attempts to play a famous musician and fails. He also sings cover songs, which people supposedly love. Jensen left Laura high and dry a year ago, now he wants her back. Wanting her is the only change that seems to have taken place. Laura goes from slapping him to giving him a soft, gentle smile in a matter of minutes. What's worse is Sofía Vergara as Ava. Ava is Laura's assistant and because of Vergara's accent, we're supposed to think she's funny. She's dangerously close to making me dislike her, and I love "Modern Family." Score: 3
Ashton Kutcher as Randy & Lea Michele as Elise: They get stuck in an elevator because that has never happened before. At first, Randy is a dick and Elise just wants to get to her job as a back-up singer for Jensen. Then, they like each other because she sings and he stares her down. Kutcher, that look of yours is more creepy stalker than sex symbol. They are in the elevator for about eight hours and it feels like they speak for 20 minutes. You couldn't even get a basic bathroom joke out of this? Just terrible. Plus, Michele is in this movie because she can sing, but it's clear her only style is "over-the-top Broadway." It doesn't fit in this film. Score: 2
Sarah Jessica Parker as Kim & Abigail Breslin as Hailey: Here's a mother and daughter trying to make a go of it. Hailey is 15 and rebels, Kim is legitimately worried about her. No one will be able to relate to Hailey because a 15-year-old shouldn't be allowed to head to Times Square unsupervised, and then go to a bar after. Score: 3
Josh Duhamel as Sam: He's searching for the girl who got away. Or, he has to make a really important speech. Or, he has to have a threesome. It's hard to care or bother. His character is involved in the ONE TIME I laughed with this movie. Comedian Larry Miller plays a tow-truck driver and explains it's not a "fix truck." Yup, that's the laugh. Score: 4
Hilary Swank as Claire Morgan & Ludacris as Brendan: Clair is the vice-president of the Times Square Alliance, which means the big ball is all on her shoulders. Brendan is a cop who offers advice. Once the ball gets stuck (shocker), Claire gives an insanely odd press conference, which has all of New York in tears and desperately searching for love, hope, whatever. Hector Elizondo shows up as an electrician to try and save the day (the ball). I was shocked that his appearance was treated as something special. Half of you would recognize him my picture only. Claire is another one of those "twist" story lines, and the only one where I couldn't guess the outcome. Score: 3
New Year's Eve suffers from "So What?" disease. I just don't think any one cares. No one made sure these characters are connected or feel for one another! "So what? We've got big names!" With Valentine's Day at least I was able to pick and choose a couple of characters to hang in there with. New Year's Eve doesn't give me that chance. The whole film feels like filler. They do a terrible job of setting and sticking to a timeline, some of the characters are just plain awkward to watch (Pfieffer and Bon Jovi stick out the most), and it never feels like a movie about love, hope, or second chances.
New Year's Eve isn't a celebration of anything except recognizes actors you've seen do better work.
FINAL SCORE: 3/10