Resolutions to make changes and the promises of that midnight kiss tie together a number of disparate romantic pairings old and new as people gather in New York City to celebrate "New Year's Eve."
Director Gary Marshall ("Pretty Woman") and his "Valentine's Day" screenwriter Katherine Fugate ("Valentine's Day") return to repeat their horrendous recipe on a different coast with a different holiday. Once again three Oscar winners (DeNiro, Swank, Berry) and three nominees (Pfeiffer, Breslin and the wisely uncredited John Lithgow) lower themselves into this vapid, perfunctorily directed romantic comedy. Only Michelle Pfeiffer garners any sympathy as dowdy record company assistant Ingrid Withers who enlists the aid of bike messenger Paul (Zac Efron) to help her check off a kind of New Year's Eve bucket list - twee, yes, but these two almost sell it. Returning from the last sweetheart's day are Jessica Biel as an expectant mother competing for a cash prize for having her baby closest to midnight and Ashton Kutcher, unenviably stuck in an elevator with 'Glee's' Lea Michele.
There's no caring about the brittle caterer Laura and the hugely successful recording artist Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi) who's trying to win here back (with such obvious pleas as “I Can’t Turn You Loose” and “Have A Little Faith in Me”) and there's no believing that fifteen year-old Hailey (Abigail Breslin) and her friends are sophisticated enough to gather at the Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall yet talk about whether each 'knows how to kiss.' As Hailey's mother, Sarah Jessica Parker's character is all about her shoes. Hillary Swank, whose latest Chechnyan PR disaster doesn't account for this, is the VP of the Times Square Alliance responsible for the ball dropping (insert a multitude of jokes here - it has trouble descending). For some reason a New York cop played by Ludacris gives up an evening with his family to 'support' her by standing around. Marshall's 'good luck charm' Hector Elizondo is the fired electrician Kominsky who's the only guy who knows how to get the ball rolling. Robert DeNiro is dying of cancer unloved except for his nurse (Halle Berry) whose only wish is to hang on to see one last Times Square New Year's Eve. And if that isn't lame enough, there are other stories that aren't worth the type to describe them. For some reason, James Belushi, Cary Elwes, Alyssa Milano, Common, Seth Meyers, Sarah Paulson, Til Schweiger, Carla Gugino, Sofía Vergara, Joey McIntyre, Larry Miller, Yeardley Smith, Penny Marshall (OK, we know her reason), and Cherry Jones are all in this.
The film's assembled haphazardly, reeling from one uninteresting tale to the next, some bits cut too quickly, others left hanging so that we can see the actor hitting his last mark. So many things are nonsensical - such as the Rockettes practicing their Christmas Show still on New Year's Eve day when the theater will be empty that night for Michelle Pfeiffer to swing across the stage in a harness or the folks who drive an RV into the Times Square area on New Year's Eve or a ball that's repeatedly referred to as masked where no one wears one or a fancy Brooklyn spa which has room for walk in clients on a holiday. We also are delivered one of the worst lines of the year in 'may the best vah jayjay win!'
As if the film weren't chock full of cliches already, it rolls out to 'Raise Your Glass.' If I'd had one, I would have thrown it.
Robin did not see this film.
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10 | Video
Reeling has been chosen as a Movie Review Query Engine Top Critic.