There’s not much to say about “New Year’s Eve,” Gary Marshall’s sweet ol’ candy of a movie that’s sort of a follow up to his 2009 film “Valentine’s Day.” Change the holiday to New Years and the cast and the two films are basically identical. I haven’t seen “Valentine’s Day” but I did see the trailer and that’s probably enough. I wish I had only seen the trailer to this one. Like “Valentine’s Day” “New Year’s Eve” is an ensemble comedy, which is fancy talk for, how many celebrities can we stuff into one movie?
Now, stand by as I list them. Hillary Swank. Zac Efron, Katherine Heigl, Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ashton Kutcher, Leah Michelle, John Bon Jovi, Till Schweiger, Yeardly Smith, Ryan Seacrest, Robert De Niro, Sophia Vergara, Abigail Breslin, (sigh!) and Josh Duhamel. There are more, believe me, but that’s all the energy I have.
Also it’s no use going into the personalities or problems of the characters because you’ve seen it all before but I’ll say this: Zac Efron is back to doing his annoying “High School Musical” brand of over acting. Jon Bon Jovi gets to show off his singing, playing a singer named Jensen, although I’m not sure why Marshall or the producers bothered coming up with a fake name for him. Leah Michelle also gets to show off her singing chops, so “Glee” fans should be happy. Sophia Vergara is basically her character from “Modern Family,” Ashton Kutcher could have walked off his new gig as the replacement on “Two and a Half Men” and finally De Niro is reduced to playing a man on his deathbed, who made “a lot of mistakes.” Clearly this movie is one of them.
Whether it be “New Year’s Eve” or “Valentine’s Day,” the main flaw with these movies is that they don’t feel like a movie as much as an advertising video. “New Years” does its job in making Times Square look spectacular and glamorous as well as the actors but wouldn’t you rather just stay home and have your own special New Years celebration instead of watching a bunch of pretty people have theirs?
On top of that, watching these big name stars play characters similar to those that they usually play, it gets distracting. For about the first half of the movie you can play the game, Spot That Celebrity! But hey, I’m sure they all had a blast. I can see them all being excited to work with one another on the set.
So that’s it. I’m sure people who liked “Valentine’s Day” will like this one. It’s harmless, easy to watch. There are some somewhat funny scenes here and there but over all “New Year’s Eve” has too much in it. Too many characters, too many shallow stories and as sappy as a tree.