Director: Garry Marshall
Writer: Katherine Fugate
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Abigail Breslin, Jessica Biel, Ashton Kutcher, Halle Berry, Til Schweiger and Robert DeNiro
Studio: Warner Brothers
Garry Marshall continues from his festival theme film Valentine’s Day with yet another ensemble that rounds up some of the hottest folks in Hollywood, playing caricatures in 8 short stories that you know will link up one way or another, either through characters or through events. There’s Ingrid the mousy secretary of a music executive who quit her job to fulfill her New Year’s resolution with the help of a courier boy. Then we have Robert De Niro as a patient on his death bed persuading his doctor and his nurse to let him see the countdown from the rooftop of the hospital. Jessica Biel and Seth Meyers play a couple who are expecting their child, and are in competition with another couple played by Sarah Paulson and Til Schweiger to produce the first New Year’s baby to walk away with 25 thousand, engaging the help of Carla Gugino’s spiritual doctor.
Leaving the hospital and into the hottest party in town, there’s food caterer Laura who has to contend with rock star Jensen who is trying his utmost to win her back after walking out on her a year ago, with tired comedy contributed by her chefs played by Sofia Vergara and Russell Peters. Jensen’s backup singer Elise finds herself stuck in a lift with the indifferent Randy while en route to the performance. Sarah Jessica Parker and Abigail Breslin play a protective mother and daughter pair where the latter is trying to seek permission to spend the night out with her friends. Hillary Swank plays the executive of the ball drop event which has hit a snag, with Ludicrous as her police confidante, and rounding it all up is Josh Duhamel as a music mogul apprehensive whether he’ll meet the woman of his dreams once more.
Marshall’s latest film seems to forget the importance of character development and indeed sure-footed narrative; these films feel like the audience are watching Ashton Kutcher flirt with Lea Michele, or Zac Efron helping Michelle Pfeiffer, which – in all honesty – they are. Never are viewers able to break away from the celebrities portraying these supposed characters, which cause great issues when trying to build and present emotion.
The film also has some bizarre cast members, including the incredibly pointless Jon Bon Jovi who slinks about, and may as well be promoting a new Greatest Hits album when he enters the frame. Stars like Halle Berry and Robert De Niro are incredibly redundant here, even though they do benefit from moderate screen-time.
RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW!