It’s one of those films that showcases a variety of well-established and potentially-rising stars that should leave an impressionable and inspiring film, right? Unfortunately, New Years Eve (2011) is a 2 hour long romantic comedy that provides a less-than-mediocre screenplay with a cast to match. Nothing new or special is offered to the table, and – because it’s several stories eventually intertwined into one – the actors rarely stand out. Not saying that these kind of films don’t work (French film Paris, Je ‘taime  proved the success of interweave films), but each American-made interweave film – He’s Just Not That Into You (2009) and Valentine’s Day (2010) to name the most notable – has gotten predominantly worse, leaving not much hope for future romantic comedy films in this type of setting.
So you’re not playing catch up by the end of the film (should you decide to see it), New Years Eve provides the following stories (just to name a few as there are a couple more stories involved in the film):
- An older woman who is going through a mid-life crisis (Michelle Pfeiffer) who wants to find a sense of purpose in life again who befriends a younger man (Zac Efron) who will teach her how to “let loose”,
- A cancer patient (Robert DeNiro) who – assisted by a nurse (Halle Berry) – wants to see, before he dies, the ball drop in Times Square,
- A successful rock star (Jon Bon Jovi) who wants to win his ex-fiancee (Katherine Heigl) back who he left in tears at the alter last year,
- Two couples (Jessica Biel/Seth Meyers, and Til Schweiger/Sarah Paulson) vying to have their baby be the first born on New Years to win a $25,000 prize, and
- A comic book artist (Ashton Kutcher) and a cheerful woman (Lea Michele) are stuck in an elevator.
To make the long stories short, the film is about hope and the need to hold onto hope in hard times (whether personal or economical). However, the stories are badly written and lines are cliche and mediocre that the audience may never catch on to exactly what the writer intended on expressing. The film not only could have been rewritten into a less generic romantic comedy standard but also shortened as the 2-hour run time felt like it was a 4-hour long movie that would never end. Perhaps one of the only redeeming qualities of the film was Robert DeNiro’s performance as cancer patient Stan Harris.
Also, it’s not that several of the stars in this film play an already annoying role outside of New Years Eve but the fact that their roles outside of the movie are visibly written into the movie; it’s as if writer Katherine Fugate found out who the stars were for the film, researched their bio on Wikipedia, and penned down a final screenplay that should’ve been a rough draft. Consequently, actors such as Lea Michele (“Glee”), Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) and Ashton Kutcher (“Two and a Half Men”) are a typecast of their own characters while young Hollywood stars like Jake T. Austin (“Wizards of Waverly Place”) and Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine , Nim’s Island , and Rango ) are just … there – never once given the opportunity to shine in their role.
New Years Eve is one of those films that has the potential in being a good film (if not a great film) but falls into a category that’s worse than mediocre. It’s definitely a movie you may just want to miss out on, but if you happen to see it, bring a notepad to remind yourself what’s going on or stuff your face in extra large popcorn to pass the two long hours.
The film runs 118 minutes and is Rated PG-13.