- Rated PG-13
- Buy the BD
All photos © Warner Bros.
Reviewed by David Medsker
here is nothing wrong with the sentiment behind “New Year’s Eve.” Follow your heart, take a chance, embrace hope, and be thankful for what you have. Those are all good things to believe in, but it loses all impact coming out of the mouths of characters that stand to lose absolutely nothing by taking these so-called big risks. No one here has to try very hard to find love – it’s right there for each and every one of them to grab. The biggest choice anyone has to make is whether to turn down a threesome for a shot at true love. Please.
During a span of roughly 16 hours on New Year’s Eve in Manhattan, Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), fed up with being pushed around at work, quits her job, and hires messenger Paul (Zac Efron) to help her cross off her New Year’s Resolutions. Sam (Josh Duhamel) is stuck in Connecticut, and has two appointments to keep in the city. Fifteen-year-old Hailey (Abigail Breslin) wants to meet up with her friends in Times Square, but her mother Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker) fears for her safety. Rock star Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi) broke the heart of chef to the stars Laura (Katherine Heigl), and is eager to patch things up. Mr. Harris (Robert De Niro) is dying alone in a hospital, and wants to see the ball drop one last time. Jaded bachelor Randy (Ashton Kutcher) is trapped in an elevator with new neighbor Elise (Lea Michelle). Claire’s (Hilary Swank) first assignment in her new position is to make sure the ball drops on schedule. Expectant couple Griffin and Tess (Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel) find themselves in a race to deliver the first baby of the New Year, and win a considerable amount of cash. Brendan (Chris ‘Ludacris’ Bridges) is a cop with no back story, and Kominsky (Hector Elizondo) is some kind of Russian immigrant angel.
Entertainment Weekly joked that the (awful) 2009 movie “It’s Complicated” was middle-aged porn. “New Year’s Eve,” then, is job porn, where each of its main characters, in the midst of the worst recession our country has seen in generations, has a successful career in the entertainment business, arguably the single hardest industry to crack. Even “Valentine’s Day,” the first installment of this “Crash: Holiday Edition” series, had small business owners and assorted blue-collar workers in it. The closest “New Year’s Eve” comes to a working man is Efron’s Paul, but that seems to be more of a lifestyle choice than anything else.
Fairy tale setting aside, the acting isn’t all that bad, and thankfully some of the actors appear to be in on the joke. Kutcher skates through the entire movie with a look of bemusement on his face, which fits the vibe perfectly. Heigl is, well, Heigl, doing that cute/angry thing like few actresses can, but Bon Jovi is flat-out boring, making one wonder why she would want to be with him in the first place. Pfeiffer is frumpy, which is an affront to God. Efron seems to be having a ball, though that makes sense considering he spends the entire movie with Pfeiffer. The New Year Baby story has no substance – though moms everywhere will get a big unintentional laugh when they see a very pregnant Biel pull off a ridiculous yoga move, then dismount like a gymnast – while the audience will find themselves praying for De Niro’s death. I’ve also now seen Abigail Breslin in a bra, and feel dirty about it.
“New Year’s Eve” is like cotton candy: it’s sticky and sweet, but it has no weight or nutritional value. If you are surprised by anything in this movie, you need to see more movies.