Hollywood must be running out of ideas if they think casting a bunch of actors in a romantic comedy is a good idea. If Valentine’s Day was any indication with its two Razzie award wins (Ashton Kutcher and Jessica Alba won Worst Actor and Worst Supporting Actress), the makers of that movie would have not considered another film of this kind.
But here they are again, in a new installment called New Year’s Eve. Directed by Garry Marshall, this film intertwines nine random and unnecessary stories over the course of…you guessed it, New Year’s Eve in New York City.
Written again by Valentine’s Day screenwriter Katherine Fugate, there’s barely any plot to be seen. In fact, the film is like a really bad attempt at imitating Love Actually, failing to smoothly connect the film’s characters.
Among the most intriguing of these stories includes bike-messenger Paul (Zac Efron) helping Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), an aging and miserable secretary, hoping to fulfill a list of resolutions. The other, features Tess and Griffin Byrne (Jessica Biel and Seth Meyers), a couple who try to give birth to the year’s first baby in order to win 25 grand.
Rounding out the rest of the movie is Claire Morgan (Hilary Swank), vice-president of the Times Square Alliance, who makes the final arrangements for the “extremely important” annual ball drop; Paul’s sister Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker), who is having trouble with her teenage daughter Hailey (Abigail Breslin) because she wants to spend New Year’s Eve with her friends in Times Square; Paul’s pessimistic friend Randy, (Ashton Kutcher) who gets stuck in an elevator with aspiring singer Elise (Lea Michele); musician Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi), who tries to rekindle his failed relationship with ex Laura (Katherine Heigl); Stan (Robert De Niro), a dying man in his final stages of cancer who wishes to see the ball drop one last time and Sam (Josh Duhamel), a business man for a fancy record company who keeps wondering about the mysterious woman he met last New Year’s Eve.
Add in appearances by Alyssa Milano, Sofia Vergara, Jake T. Austin, Halle Berry, Common and Ryan Seacrest, watching this film is almost like playing a game of Guess Who: Celebrity Edition.
Considering this extensive cast of talent, it’s unfortunate to see that the characters are randomly and suddenly put together. Marshall spends little time developing their relationships, and that’s probably because there are way too many people in this movie.
Oddly enough, Efron’s Paul seems to hold the most connections in the film playing the best friend of Kutcher’s Randy and the brother of Parker’s Kim (which was completely unbelievable). But considering how much of a mess this movie already is, we never get to see them on screen together. Add that in with Heigl and Bon Jovi’s lack of chemistry, it’s almost as if the makers of this film were having so much trouble giving screen time to the large cast they hired.
Meanwhile, the disc’s extras include deleted scenes, a gag reel and featurettes such as “The Magic of Time Square” (where Marshall and the cast talk about the magic of Times Square on New Year’s Eve), “Jon Bon Jovi & Lea Michele Rock New Year’s Eve (where they discuss their not-so-epic musical collaboration), and “New Year’s Eve Secrets of the Stars” (where the cast discuss their most memorable New Year’s celebrations).
And just when you thought the movie was enough, the disc also includes some lively and enthusiastic film commentary from Marshall. Discussing the troubles of filming in New York City during the winter (BECAUSE IT’S OH SO COLD!), he surprisingly offers some pretty interesting tidbits about the cast and set of the movie.
While New Year’s Eve ultimately throws storylines around, the movie does provide some cheap entertainment on a lonely night. But as predictable and unorganized this 118-minute film is, we’re all just left waiting for the new year to ring in so the movie can end.