Film Review – New Year’s Eve

New Year’s Eve (M)

Directed by: Garry Marshall

Starring: Hilary Swank, Sarah Jessica Parker, Josh Duhamel, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Effron, Jon Bon Jovi, Jessica Biel, and many more

Two stars

Review by: Julian Wright

 

Despite all the star power, characters, sub plots and intertwined stories, New Year’s Eve is as anti-climactic as the night it celebrates. Look at the cast, how could you go wrong, right? Picking up the trend that Ocean’s 11 kick-started, Hollywood seems to think that cramming as many A-list celebrities into one film is a good thing. But a screen full of familiar beauties adds up to very little if the script is limp and the direction lacklustre, as it is here.

On New Year’s Eve, Claire Morgan (Hilary Swank) runs around like a headless chook to make sure the famous Times Square ball drop runs smoothly which of course it doesn’t. Yuppie couples Tess and Griffic Byrne and James and Grace Schwab (Jessica Biel, Seth Myers, Til Schweiger and Sarah Paulson) compete for a cash prize for having the first baby after the stroke of midnight. Energetic delivery boy Paul (Zac Effron) helps unfulfilled Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) through her bucket list.

Laura (Katherine Heigl) struggles to cater for a huge party while her ex-fiance and singing superstar Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi) tries to win her back. Jensen’s backup singer Elise (Lea Michele) gets trapped in an elevator with cynical, New Year’s Eve hating Randy (Ashton Kutcher). Teenage Hailey (Abigail Breslin) wants to spend the night with her friends, against her mum’s (Sarah Jessica Parker) wishes. Nurse Aimee (Halle Berry) stays with dying Stan Harris (Robert De Niro).

 With so many things going on, New Year’s Eve becomes as chaotic as Times Square on, well, New Year’s Eve. And I haven’t even listed every sub plot. The actors aren’t given anything to work with here – just scenarios – so all we get is their charm. But a film cannot chug along on the charms of the cast  alone. We need more; how are we supposed to connect with these characters when their scenes are so short and they flit in out of the film so frequently?

Marshall tries his best – and his editor deserves recognition for juggling so many stories and keeping them coherent – but New Year’s Eve fizzles. And book ending the film with a syrupy voice over about hope and second chances does not make up for script shortfalls and lack of plot and character development. Nor does a highly entertaining (and depressingly the best part of  this film about the biggest celebration of the year) blooper reel during the end credits.

 

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