Ever since “Love Actually” won over movie goers and critics, Hollywood has been trying to replicate its success. Who doesn’t love a romantic comedy filled with a star-studded cast? On paper, having a long list of marquee names seems like a surefire way of making a hit movie. Then when you throw director director Garry Marshall of “Pretty Woman” fame in the mix, it’s as good as gold. Sadly, that’s not the case.
Let me just preface this and say that lighthearted rom-coms are my favorite genre. Sometimes you just want to escape and not have to analyze the truer meaning of a movie. Marshall gave a decent effort with “Valentine’s Day“, but it certainly had its flaws. You’d think the second time around trying to mesh a dozen or so stories would produce a better movie. Just like real-life New Year’s Eve parties, it didn’t live up to the hype. If “Valentine’s Day” was a poor man’s “Love Actually”, then “New Year’s Eve” is a poor man’s “Valentine’s Day”. Yup, it wasn’t that good.
Not to say it was all bad. It did have some redeeming qualities. With so many actors and storylines interweaving, you’re bound to get a few things right. That’s the case with Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeiffer’s storyline. Pfeiffer gives a list to Efron’s character and promises him highly-coveted tickets to the “it” party if he helps fulfill her resolutions. PS. How awesome is that idea to do resolutions before NYE and then celebrate later that night? I’m so going to do that. Their chemistry was captivating, and not in a May-December romance kind of way. I honestly could’ve watched an entire movie based on Efron’s creative solutions to grant some of Pfeiffer’s trickier requests.
Other standouts for me include both Halle Berry and Hilary Swank’s second half of their story arc. Both had me a tad misty with their emotional reveals. On a completely different front “Modern Family’s” Sofia Vergara and comedian Russell Peters made the audience laugh with their comic relief. In hindsight, I’m not sure if their lines were all that funny or merely the way they delivered them with their accents. Either way, I enjoyed them tremendously.
Everyone else I didn’t mention, was absolutely atrocious. I love me some Josh Duhamel, but I was bored whenever he came on. The big mystery for him was who he was going to meet up at midnight. At one point you thought it was this actress, and then another. In the end, the writers picked the absolute worst one, IMHO.
Also boring me were Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi’s scenes. I was far more interested in eating my nachos then watching them. And don’t even get me started on Sarah Jessica Parker. I love Carrie Bradshaw as much as the next gay man but I think it’s time she hangs up this genre. During this week’s episode of “Glee”, they quoted “hold on to 16 for as long as you can” from Mellancamp’s “Jack & Diane“. Well, change that number to 40 and that’s what SJP is trying to do. Even Julia Roberts has ditched being a lead in the romantic comedy genre. PS. I think Heigl should also heed that advice too. She should just head back to Grey’s Anatomy. Speaking of television actresses, whenever Lea Michele showed up, I kept thinking to myself, why is Rachel Berry dressing so slutty?
If you’re looking to take a break from the hordes of people at the mall and just want some mindless numbing entertainment, then “New Year’s Eve” is up your alley. The movie was the first time, a movie was allowed to shoot in Times Square during the dropping of the ball. After this, I think it’ll be the last. Garry Marshall likes to cast Hector Elizondo in his films because he considers him to be his good luck charm. Sadly, even his brief appearance couldn’t save the entire film. I recommend you wait for this on home video or when TNT, TBS or whatever network buys the rights, and airs it on a yearly basis during the holiday season. In a rewriting of Auld Lang Syne, this new acquaintance SHOULD BE forgotten.
Movie Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars.