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New Year's Eve
(L-r) ASHTON KUTCHER as Randy and LEA MICHELE as Elise in New Line Cinema's romantic comedy "NEW YEAR'S EVE," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Movie Review: New Year’s Eve

Almost everyone in Hollywood is in this film. With so many stars, is there a story? Jeanne Powell gives us her take of “New Year’s Eve.”

New Year's Eve

(L-r) ABIGAIL BRESLIN as Hailey and SARAH JESSICA PARKER as Kim in New Line Cinema's romantic comedy "NEW YEAR'S EVE," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

“NEW YEAR’S EVE”
Warner Bros. Pictures
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for “language including some sexual references”
Run Time: 118 minutes

Studio Synopsis:
Director/producer Garry Marshall is joined by a stellar ensemble cast to ring in the 2011 holiday season with the romantic comedy “New Year’s Eve.”

“New Year’s Eve” celebrates love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts, with intertwining stories told amidst the pulse and promise of New York City on the most dazzling night of the year.

The film’s all-star cast includes Academy Award® winner Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Academy Award® nominee Abigail Breslin, Chris “Ludacris” Bridges, two-time Academy Award® winner Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Hector Elizondo, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Seth Meyers, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Academy Award® nominee Michelle Pfeiffer, Til Schweiger, two-time Academy Award® winner Hilary Swank and Sofia Vergara.

Reuniting with Marshall from last year’s hit romantic comedy “Valentine’s Day” are screenwriter Katherine Fugate and producers Mike Karz and Wayne Rice. Serving as executive producers are Toby Emmerich, Samuel J. Brown, Michael Disco, Josie Rosen and Diana Pokorny, with Heather Hall as co-producer.

The behind-the-scenes creative filmmaking team includes director of photography Charles Minsky, production designer Mark Friedberg, editor Michael Tronick, Oscar®-nominated costume designer Gary Jones and Oscar®-nominated composer John Debney.

A New Line Cinema presentation of a Wayne Rice/Karz Entertainment Production, a Garry Marshall Film, “New Year’s Eve” will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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New Year's Eve

(L-r) Director GARRY MARSHALL and KATHERINE HEIGL during the filming of New Line Cinema's romantic comedy "NEW YEAR'S EVE," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

Jeanne’s Take:
What can I say about this holiday season romantic comedy, which has too many stars and too little plot?  Well, there are a couple of good things, so read on.

Director Garry Marshall  gave us “Pretty Woman” in 1990 and a host of television comedies, all of which were popular.  His sister is the talented comedienne Penny Marshall, who also appears in “New Year’s Eve.”  Screenwriter Katherine Fugate is the author of “Valentine’s Day,” another profitable film, and the creator of a successful television drama, “Army Wives.”

Award-winning actors saturate “New Year’s Eve” as they search for a plot, any plot to give them a reason to walk before the cameras.  The city is New York and the time is the evening of December 31st.

Two pregnant wives compete for prize money which goes to the first baby born in hospital after new year’s day begins.  A single mother (Sarah Jessica Parker) tries to keep up with her teen daughter’s posse as the kids scheme to get to Times Square on new year’s eve.

A  millionaire (Josh Duhamel) hopes to connect with a woman he met 12 months earlier at a restaurant on new year’s eve.

A chef (Katherine Heigl)  fights her feelings for an old flame (Bon Jovi), while she is catering a new year’s eve party for a socialite (Cherry Jones).

An unhappy single guy (Ashton Kutcher) is trapped in an elevator with Bon Jovi’s backup singer (Lea Michele from “Glee”).

New Year's Eve

HALLE BERRY as Aimee in New Line Cinema's romantic comedy "NEW YEAR'S EVE," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

A dying man (Robert deNiro) wants to leave his hospital room and watch new year’s eve festivities from the hospital rooftop.  The nurse sitting by his bedside is Halle Berry.

An insensitive employer (John Lithgow) angers his long-suffering front desk person (Michelle Pfeiffer), who suddenly quits her job and whips out a bucket list, except she is not going to die.

An up and coming media host (Hilary Swank) is charged with seeing that the Times Square festivities go  smoothly.  Ludicris is ludicrous as Hilary’s friend – or something more – primarily because of the script.

Hector Elizondo holds the key to a little problem which develops with the most important part of new year’s eve in New York, but he is not given enough to do in  this film either.  And a motorcycle messenger (Zac Efron) steals the show from everyone.

Zac  delivers those packages which are too important to be left to snail mail, such as tickets to the entire new year’s eve extravaganza in Times Square.  He struts beautifully and creates a character which amuses and entertains you.  Most of his moments are with Michelle Pfeiffer, however, who is miscast as the unhappy receptionist who chucks her job.  Zac playing opposite Halle Berry would have worked well, but no one consulted me.  Halle has one moving scene with Common as her far-away love, but that’s it.

New Year's Eve

(L-r) ASHTON KUTCHER as Randy and LEA MICHELE as Elise in New Line Cinema's romantic comedy "NEW YEAR'S EVE," a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Andrew Schwartz

There are walk-ons  – Mathew Broderick as Hilary’s boss, mayor Michael Bloomberg as himself,  and “American Idol” host Ryan Seacrest.  All to no avail.  This picture is light, frothy, filled with air.

One thing the viewer will learn is that the new year’s eve celebration in Times Square, the event everyone sees on news programs nationwide, is a big deal.  Lots of individuals toil to make it work, and many thousands of people fill the square to watch the ball descend.  We wish the director and writer  had created a fuller storyline to celebrate the moment.

About Jeanne Powell

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Jeanne Powell is a poet and short story writer, who teaches in a summer program for teens. Her most recent books are “My Own Silence” and “Word Dancing,” available online and through booksellers. She also hosts spoken word events in San Francisco, and covers cultural happenings for online media.