¨It only happens once a year: New Year`s Eve. It`s a time where the hopeless can be romantic.¨
New Year`s Eve is director Garry Marshall`s follow up to Valentine`s Day. It has a very similar premise where you have a series of romantic stories that over the course of the film intertwine with each other, although this time the story takes place in New York instead of Los Angeles. Marshall worked once again with screenwriter Katherine Fugate and also teamed up with Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, and Hector Elizondo who also worked with him in the previous film along with several other A-list actors such as Robert de Niro, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Halle Berry, Seth Meyers, Katherine Heigl, Sofia Vergara, John Lithgow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Hillary Swank, Josh Duhamel, and rock star Jon Bon Jovi among others. It`s probably easier to mention who isn`t in this movie. Despite having so many great actors the story falls flat because it`s just impossible to follow all the different stories in such a short period of time. It`s like if Marshall was trying to jam in several romantic movies all into one and we never get to fully relate with any of the characters. There is no time to get inside any of the character`s skin and know what they are thinking, they are all one dimensional. There were just too many stories and things going on, that the movie really lacks depth. There are some strong emotional moments and good dialogue scenes, but they are just too far spread out in a multi storyline. Some of the stories are interesting and would`ve been a much better movie on their own, but instead Marshall seems to take us from one story to another right when we were getting interested in the first one. It`s too bad because there is a whole lot of talent involved in this project.
It`s the last day of the year in New York and everybody`s eyes are on the NY Times square ball which will drop at midnight to announce the arrival of the new year. Hillary Swank plays Claire Morgan, the vice president of the event and she`s in charge of making sure the ball falls on time. She is a little nervous, but very excited because she always looks forward to this night. Her good friend Brendan (Ludicrous) is by her side making sure she remains calm as head of the police security personnel. They do experience some setbacks however when the ball gets jammed halfway up the pole. The only person who can help is Kominsky (Hector Elizondo), who they recently fired a few weeks ago. There are seven other stories going around that in some way or another connect with each other. There is Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) who decides to quit her job in order to fulfill her New Year`s resolution. She enlists the help of a messenger named Paul (Zac Efron) who decides to help her in exchange for exclusive tickets for a special party. Then there is Paul`s roommate, Randy (Ashton Kutcher) who could care less about all the hype of New Year`s, but ends up getting stuck in the elevator with his new neighbor Elise (Lea Michele) who has to rush to work because she`s a backup singer for pop star sensation Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi). Jensen has a gig that night and is trying to make amends with an ex fiancée who he ran away from: Laura (Katherine Heigl) who happens to be in charge of the food catering in that same party. There are several other stories as well involving a couple expecting at a hospital (Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel), a man lying in his deathbed wishing he can see the ball drop one last time (Robert de Niro), another trying to make it in time to New York for a speech he has to give and a girl he might meet (Josh Duhamel), and a single mother (Sarah Jessica Parker) who wants to spend the night with her 15 year old daughter (Abigail Breslin) when all she wants is to go out with a boy from school she`s interested in.
So there you had the extensive plot which deals with so many storylines that it seems a lifetime just to get to introduce each one. That is my major complaint about this movie which could have been better if dealing with two or three less storylines. Some of the performances were alright, but nothing memorable. I had a decent time with this movie, sometimes it`s just fun to see all these stars together but with so many things going on it wasn`t really worth it. The ending wasn`t really what I was expecting either. Whereas in Valentine`s Day I was surprised at the end with who one of the main characters was expecting to hook up with, in this one it just didn`t really make much sense who Josh Duhamel`s character was waiting all along for. Marshall should not get too preoccupied about enlisting so many actors for his next film, and just worry about recreating a good, strong story. It`s too bad because I actually found some of the lines in the film quite heartwarming, like when Hillary Swank gives her televised speech. A forgettable movie, but perhaps the ladies will enjoy it since there are so many great actors involved.