New Year’s Eve

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1

Content: +3

Halle Berry, Jon Bon Jovi, Jessica Biel, Zac Efron, Hilary Swank, Michelle Pfeiffer, Katherine Heigl, Josh Duhamel, Robert De Niro, Lea Michele, Abigail Breslin, Hector Elizondo, Ashton Kutcher. Comedy/romance. Directed by Gary Marshall.

FILM SYNOPSIS: In this sequel to last year’s Valentine’s Day, the intertwining stories concern a group of New Yorkers as they navigate their way through the last day of the year. One couple wants to win money by having their baby born right at midnight; a teenager wants to get her first big kiss during the New Year’s countdown; a chef wants nothing to do with her musician boyfriend who ran out on her last New Year’s; two strangers get caught in an elevator; etc.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Will the Time Square New Year’s Ball get unstuck before the New Year’s countdown? That’s the film’s big question. That and will that chick from Glee, the one with the Barbra Streisand nose, the one who always wore the knee socks, get her chance to sing to the world, or will she stay caught in an elevator with Demi Moore’s ex? Well, just as the ball and knee-socks girl, get stuck, so does the film. As with its predecessor, Valentine’s Day, Happy New Year tries to be humorous, touching and romantic and fails miserably with each emotion.

Each cast member has a nice moment, proving they all have cinematic chops – charisma and the ability to breathe some life into dead dialogue, and although each character gets a happy ending, even the dying guy in the hospital, who despite the fact that he’s only got a few hours to live still musters the strength to watch the ball drop from the top of the hospital, nothing in the film is really that funny or truly heartfelt. It has all the substance of a New Year’s party hat.

Directed with sitcom efficiency by TV veteran Gary Marshall, but each of the storylines seems more contrived than true to life. As for the inclusion of all the “stars,” I harkened back to one of the first films to include countless celebrities – It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. The difference: the actor/comedians in that 1963 film were veterans, each the best of their trade, and each one well directed by Stanley Kramer. Whereas, Happy New Year is top heavy with TV talents, many lacking that something extra that makes a movie star. Sadly, even those who could legitimately be called movie stars are given little to do and are badly guided by Mr. Marshall.

It's main flaw is the lazy screenwriting and the premise that if you stuff a film like a Christmas stocking with numerous stars and storylines, all else will be forgiven.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Warner Bros.

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A couple of crude sexual innuendos.

Obscene Language: Three or four obscenities, including the s-word from Ms. Heigl and the f-word from Ms. Biel.

Profanity: I caught no misuse of God’s name.

Violence: Ms. Heigl slaps Bon Jovi, twice. No blood - not even during a childbirth.

Sex: None

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Some brief drinking.

Other: An old man passes away off screen.

Running Time: 100 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Up

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