New Year's Eve
a film review
by Jeanne Powell
What can I say about this holiday season romantic comedy, which has too many stars and too little plot? Well, there are a couple of good things, so read on.
Director Gary Marshall gave us “Pretty Woman” in 1990 and a host of television comedies, all of which were popular. His sister is the talented comedienne Penny Marshall, who also appears in “New Year’s Eve.” Screenwriter Katherine Fugate is the author of “Valentine’s Day,” another profitable film, and the creator of a successful television drama, “Army Wives.”
Award-winning actors saturate “New Year’s Eve” as they search for a plot, any plot to give them a reason to walk before the cameras. The city is New York and the time is the evening of December 31st. Two pregnant wives compete for prize money which goes to the first baby born in hospital after new year’s day begins. A single mother (Sarah Jessica Parker) tries to keep up with her teen daughter’s posse as the kids scheme to get to Times Square on new year’s eve. A millionaire (Josh Duhamel) hopes to connect with a woman he met 12 months earlier at a restaurant on new year’s eve. A chef (Katherine Heigl) fights her feelings for an old flame (Bon Jovi), while she is catering a new year’s eve party for a socialite (Cherry Jones). An unhappy single guy (Ashton Kutcher) is trapped in an elevator with Bon Jovi’s backup singer (Lea Michele from “Glee”).
A dying man (Robert deNiro) wants to leave his hospital room and watch new year’s eve festivities from the hospital rooftop. The nurse sitting by his bedside is Halle Berry. An insensitive employer (John Lithgow) angers his long-suffering front desk person (Michelle Pfeiffer), who suddenly quits her job and whips out a bucket list, except she is not going to die. An up and coming media host (Hilary Swank) is charged with seeing that the Times Square festivities go smoothly. Ludicris is ludicrous as Hilary’s friend – or something more – primarily because of the script. Hector Elizondo holds the key to a little problem which develops with the most important part of new year’s eve in New York, but he is not given enough to do in this film either. And a motorcycle messenger (Zac Efron) steals the show from everyone.
Zac delivers those packages which are too important to be left to snail mail, such as tickets to the entire new year’s eve extravaganza in Times Square. He struts beautifully and creates a character who amuses and entertains you. Most of his moments are with Michelle Pfeiffer, however, who is miscast as the unhappy receptionist who chucks her job. Zac playing opposite Halle Berry would have worked well, but no one consulted me. Halle has one moving scene with Common as her far-away love, but that’s it.
There are walk-ons – Mathew Broderick as Hilary’s boss, mayor Michael Bloomberg as himself, and American Idol host Ryan Seacrest. All to no avail. This picture is light, frothy, filled with air.
One thing the viewer will learn is that the new year’s eve celebration in Times Square is a big deal. Lots of individuals toil to make it work, and many thousands of people fill the square to watch the ball descend. I wish the director and writer had created a fuller storyline to celebrate the moment.
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Causes Jeanne Powell Supports
Union of Concerned Scientists, VVAW (Vietnam Veterans Against War), Doctors Without Borders, Waterkeeper Alliance, PSR (Physicians for Social Responsibility...