“New Year’s Eve,” written by Katherine Fugate, directed by Garry Marshall, 118 minutes, rated PG-13.
Before going into “New Year’s Eve,” the gimmicky follow-up to Garry Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day,” there are a few unmistakable red flags:
- The first is that the film has brought together the insufferable forces of Ashton Kutcher, Katherine Heigl, Jessica Biel, Josh Duhamel and Halle Berry.
- The second is that “New Year’s Eve” creates a universe where Bon Jovi’s character Jensen is supposed to be a world-renowned pop icon. I’m not buying it.
- The third is that Marshall seems to believe Bon Jovi is still remotely relevant as an actor. Again, I’m not buying it.
For those unfamiliar with the formula established in “Valentine’s Day,” Marshall uses his Hollywood pull to bring together about 20 big-name celebrities, mashing together a dozen 15- to 20-minute vignettes centered around a holiday. Here, that holiday is New Year’s Eve. Throw in some slightly stale pop music with actors dancing, kissing and coping with embarrassing and awkward moments, and you’ve got yourself a movie.
Shame on you, screenwriter Katherine Fugate, for being so lazy.
Unlike its source of inspiration, “Love Actually,” “New Year’s Eve” is a nothing more than a money grab for actors who want to hide behind other actors’ names – a project where nobody thinks they’ll be held accountable. But here I am, telling Robert De Niro and Hilary Swank that yes, we noticed you were in this film. And yes, it’s another serious blemish on both of your careers.
Then there’s Zac Efron, whose career seems to be rapidly slipping away from him. Once, he was the leading man of his generation, getting the attention of acclaimed directors such as Richard Linklater. Now, whether it’s from a lack of options or by choice, he’s slumming in movies such as “New Year’s Eve” or an upcoming adaptation of a Nicholas Sparks’ novel.
Sure, “Valentine’s Day” was a weak effort from everyone involved. However, “New Year’s Eve” is a downright embarrassment. What it all boils down to is these actors just don’t care. There isn’t a genuine moment in the movie. They want your money, but they don’t want to work terribly hard to entertain you. It’s the very definition of what’s wrong with movies these days.
Just to make sure I didn’t leave anybody out, here’s a list of some other actors who should be held responsible for “New Year’s Eve”: Seth Meyers, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Paulson, Til Schweiger, Carla Gugino, Sofia Vergara, Lea Michelle, Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, Cary Elwes, Common and Alyssa Milano. While we’re on the subject, why is Alyssa Milano even in this? Isn’t there a terrible made-for-TV movie somewhere looking for a leading lady?