A sweet but slight truffle starring…everyone
“New Year’s Eve” is the kind of fluffy rom-com that is an easy target for critic’s ire and one that egregiously feels like a money grab since director/writer Garry Marshall used the same multiple story formula he did in 2010’s “Valentine’s Day.” Here again countless legions of Hollywood’s cutest stars are thrown together to concoct a film that’s the cinematic equivalent of a piece of New York style cheesecake and about as artistically satisfying.
But in a holiday season that for a change has seen its share of non-cynical, warm hearted releases, “New Year’s Eve” can be enjoyed by those who want something sweetly shallow and enjoy watching a parade of celebs pop up on screen throughout the film. “Oh look! It’s Jon Bon Jovi!” “How did he get another acting job?” “Say, there’s Michelle Pfeiffer! “Where has she been? (Apparently the botox spa). “Caramba! There’s knockout Sofia Vergara, playing the exact same character she does on “Modern Family!” “And Oscar winners Hillary Swank and Halle Berry must not be getting any scripts these days!” The list goes on and on.
The interconnecting plots involve a variety of activities that occur in and around Times Square on the big night and nearly all of them attempt to pull the heartstrings. While some do a better job than others, the best story lines involve the unexpected twists of who we think is going to get together with whom and what actually happens. It’s a tribute to the level of acting of nearly all parties concerned that given just snippets of story lines to work with actors such as Josh Duhamel, Katherine Heigl, and Abigail Breslin, give us characters to root for. (While we also wish we could laugh a LOT more).
As for Marshall, he’s directed a lot of bombs (“Georgia Rule,” “Raising Helen”) since he helmed the massively popular and still very watchable “Pretty Woman” in 1990. And while his ensemble work won’t make anyone forget the much ballyhooed Robert Altman (who had some bombs and overrated high-brow fluff himself), it takes some skill to compose a sensible film out of a buffet line of plots and an endless carousel of performers.
Rated PG-13 for language and some sexual references