Movie ReviewsRating: 3.5 of 5 yaps

New Year’s Eve

Garry Marshall is still trying to remake “Love Actually.” What Garry Marshall hasn’t quite grasped is the reason “Love Actually” worked: Director Richard Curtis mixed broad comedy with authentic gravitas and created a varied but self-contained world with distinctive characters, each of whom could have starred in his or her own movie. In contrast, the characters in “New Year’s Eve” are archetypal and many questions are left unanswered. But the result is still optimistic and as bubbly as a plastic flute of discount champagne on the much-anticipated night.

In “New Year’s Eve,” various stories — some incorporating characters from Marshall’s “Valentine’s Day” — intertwine on the titular evening in New York City, site of the famous Times Square ball drop. Some work better than others. A love story between Jon Bon Jovi’s commitment-phobic rock star and Katherine Heigl’s wronged chef is an exercise in typecasting. Ditto Jessica Biel and Seth Meyers, both utterly flat in the silly struggle of an expectant couple’s race to win a cash prize for having the first baby of the New Year (farfetched even for a romantic comedy).

However, Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron bring sparkling charm to the tale of a wistful secretary who hires a peppy bike messenger to make her list of grandiose resolutions a reality. Sarah Jessica Parker is sweetly believable as a doting mother to teenage Abigail Breslin, who just wants to hang out with her friends and possibly get kissed in Times Square. And screenwriter Katherine Fugate turns the most cliche of plot devices — sticking two opposites together in a busted elevator — into a genuinely cute connection for jaded slacker Ashton Kutcher and ambitious songbird Lea Michele.

All the tropes of a romantic comedy are present in “New Year’s Eve,” for better and for worse: gay and ethnic stereotypes, surprise cameos, the Black Eyed Peas, a musical number. Yet despite its fluff and flaws, “New Year’s Eve” is fun. It’s not “Love Actually.” It’s not even close. But as a Friday-night escape or Christmas-vacation family field trip, it’ll do. It’ll do just fine.

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12 Responses to “New Year’s Eve”

  1. Brenda says:

    I enjoyed this movie, but the one part that touched me the most was when the bike messenger played by Zac Efron spent new year’s eve with Michelle Pfeiffer who had hired him to help her fufill her resolutions in exchange for some much sought after tickets.

  2. […] Larson: Born to be a Star,” “Abduction,” ”The Human Centipede 2,” “New Year’s Eve” and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: […]

  3. […] me lame, but I’m not a huge fan of going out on New Year’s Eve. Paying a ridiculous cover charge so some inebriated stranger can slobber on me at midnight? […]

  4. Rebecca Luebcke says:

    I was a pretty big Valentine’s Day fan, simply for the chick flick aspect of everything that happened in that movie, so I’m excited to see this one. With all the fams home over break I think this will be a perfect girl’s night out.

  5. Cortni says:

    Sooo excited to see this only because I LOVE almost every actor/actress involved. Valentine’s Day was really cute and I’m sure this will be too!

  6. Andy says:

    Good to hear that this is a decent film. Surprised all the ladies didn’t take their men to it last week. I can’t wait till the wife takes me to see this!

  7. Denise says:

    I cannot wait to see this movie…..just as soon as my holiday parties slow down..I will be heading to the nearest movie theater to check this out!

  8. meinyana says:

    Has anyone seen this yet? I am really looking forward to seeing it if it has good reviews. Seems like a good movie.

  9. Nick Rogers says:

    See, now that’s worse. Seeing them just makes your eyes bleed. Hearing them causes an aneurysm.

  10. Lauren Whalen says:

    Actually, it’s just their song, not them. (Though I would have LOVED a parody Black Eyed Peas with Amy Poehler as Fergie.)

  11. Nick Rogers says:

    Just when I thought I couldn’t want to see this movie any less, you inform me the Black Eyed Peas are in it. I’d say this review counts as a PSA.