“New Year’s Eve” is the sort-of-a-sequel but not really-a-sequel to 2010’s “Valentine’s Day”. Gary Marshall is back behind the camera directing this All-Star laden movie about a select few in New York and how their lives intertwine over the course of New Year’s Eve.
Following in the footsteps of it’s sister, “Valentine’s Day,” you have another movie that follows what appears to be a random selection of people and how their lives mix and mingle during a special day – this year it’s New Year’s Eve. “New Year’s Eve” manages to cram in the most typical stereotyped characters always seen in these types of romantic comedies and weave their stories into a tapestry of love, humor, and heart-warming goodness. Gary Marshall is our parent’s generation of Judd Apatow in using the same core of actors for all of his movies so you’ll see his sister Penny Marshall (who has a funny cameo appearance) and Hector Elizondo (always a class act to watch on the big screen) make appearances along side a large cast that includes Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer (who is looking a bit like Susan Sarandon now-a-days and has come a long way from “Grease 2”), Josh Duhamel, Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, Ashton Kutcher, Sofia Vergara, Jon Bon Jovi, and many more.
“New Year’s Eve” is a simple movie with a thin plot. You don’t have to worry about an international banking trust trying to take over the world or giant robots trying to fight their war on our world. “New Year’s Eve” is about couples having issues (Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi), babies being born (Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel), people learning to live (Michelle Pfeiffer, Josh Duhamel, Ashton Kutcher, and Sarah Jessica Parker), and people learning to die (Robert Di Nero, Hillary Swank, Carey Elwes, and Halle Berry). It’s a movie that wants to take itself very serious yet can’t find the foothold to do so. There is a lot of humor and warmth and heart crammed into this movie but it’s all been done before. You’d think there would be some memorable moments in this movie with this large of a cast with something that could make “New Year’s Eve” stand out and not be considered a clone of the previous “Valentine’s Day.” Something that would touch you and make you realize that life can be just as good in the real world as it is on the big screen. Sadly this isn’t so. The characters and plot are so stereotyped that it’s almost as if the writers sat down and had a meeting that went like this …
Writer 1: We know what we want to do so let’s do it. Go!
Writer 2: We can get Sofia Vergara from “Modern Family” and have her flaunt her boobs while speaking broken English.
Writer 3: We can have two couples that are expecting a baby ‘fight it out’ to see who becomes the first couple to have a baby at that hospital for the new year. Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel can be one of the couples. Seth is very funny on “Saturday Night Live” and we loved Jessica on our last movie. We have to work in the trying to get a cab in New York joke as well as the nervous father-to-be getting his wife to the hospital joke.
Writer 4: If we’re going to do that we have to do the lost love angle and have Josh Duhamel look for his true love whom he met last New Year’s Eve. We can do that serendipity thing where he got a note from the woman he met last year yet he never got her name so he has to come back to the same spot a year later to be with her.
Writer 5: Ok, but if we do this we have to work in the soldier over seas story where our intrepid nurse played by Halle Berry is working a 12-hour shift and can only see her husband via Skype for a brief few minutes. Very touching movement we’ll have here.
Writer 1: I like it! What’s next?
Writer 3: That Ashton Kutcher guy is still big, right? So we have to work him into the movie. And we’ll pair him with that girl from Glee…you know the one that sings…Lea Michele. They’re neighbors and get stuck in an elevator for eight hours so they have time to learn about each other and life.
Writer 2: Living life is a great idea. I can use this with my story about an Office Manager for a recording producer who pines to fulfill her list of New Year’s Resolutions. I’m sure we can get Michelle Pfeiffer to play the part. And we’ll need a spunky, yet younger, guy to help her learn that life moves on. Do the kids still like Zac Efron? Of course they do.
Writer 4: I got the killer living life story here. Jon Bon Jovi plays a singer named Jensen who walked out on his fiance last year. He’s performing at a big New Year’s party and will only perform if his favorite caterer is hired to cater the party. That caterer is played by Katherine Heigl…and wait for it….she’s his fiance that he walked out on! They both realize what’s important in life and lean to put the past behind them so they can continue toward the future.
Writer 2: Can we squeeze in a story about two kids in high school who want to share their first kiss on New Year’s Eve? Sarah Jessica Parker can play the mom of the girl and we can have her be over protective of her daughter.
Writer 3: Hey…since it’s set around New Year’s Eve we can actually create some drama about the New Year’s ball drop, a new Vice President of the Ball Drop Association played by Hillary Swank, and the concert with that Jensen guy Jon Bon Jovi is playing. And the twist is how all the stories intertwine!
Writer 1: I like all of it! Let’s get some coffee and start the putting the script together.
“New Year’s Eve” is a very forgettable film that gets lost in the large crowd of characters that make up the world it lives in. There is just too much going on with too many back-stories for characters that you just don’t care about. “New Year’s Eve” would have benefited from being a true sequel to “Valentine’s Day” and allowing us to follow the next chapter of some if not all of those characters and even introducing some new ones into the mix. Instead we get a clone to the original that falls flat from start to finish.
Rating: 2 stars out of 5 stars.