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New Year's Eve (AF)


Stars: Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Hector Elizondo, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Seth Meyers, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Til Schweiger, Hilary Swank, Sofia Vergara, Jake T Austin, Cary Elwes, Carla Gugino, Cherry Jones, Jack McGee, Alyssa Milano, Matthew Broderick, Larry Miller, Jim Belushi

Director: Garry Marshall

Some reviewers disliked ‘Valentine’s Day’, producer-director Garry Marshall’s romantic comedy interlinking various storylines around the eponymous day. And again some reviewers took against Marshall’s latest romcom confection which uses the New Year’s Day midnight celebration’s in New York’s Times Square as the catalyst for a similar series of romantic comic stories. This time, however, their verdict was delivered prior to seeing the film.

That said, Marshall should be laughing all the way to the bank again. ‘New Year’s Eve’ is a perfect example of a film that has been made for moviegoers, not critics. Few clichés of the genre are missing in Katherine Fugate’s multi-stranded screenplay and the corn is as high as an elephant’s eye. But audiences out for an enjoyable easy-on-the-brain star-led film will find the corn, cooked to glossy sugar-sweet perfection by Marshall, to be ripe and perfectly tasty for an evening of lighthearted entertainment.

Among the many story strands we find Swank having a hard time as the person in charge of the descending giant ball that marks the beginning of the New Year, being saved by Elizondo as a daffy electrician. Heigl rekindles her romance with Bon Jovi, Pfeiffer is given the time of her previously mouse-like life by messenger Efron, teenager Breslin feuds with over-protective mother Parker, Kutcher (playing a character appropriately called ‘Randy”) finds love in a stalled elevator and De Niro (equipped with his personal make-up artist and hair stylist) makes the Fockers seem hard-edged with possibly his worst, most-self-indulgent performance as a man dying of cancer. And, for good measure, two pregnant women battle for a $25,000 prize for being the first to give birth in the New Year.

Product placement is endemic but you have to admire Warner Bros: the last shot on Times Square displays a huge poster for their upcoming aspirant blockbuster “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows’.

Nobody should claim ‘New Year’s Eve’ is anything more than a slick, glossy and easy-to-forget star-led romcom spattered with guest stars including John Belushi, Matthew Broderick and Larry Miller. It’s not ‘Art’ as we know it, Jim, but it is the kind of well-made Hollywood movie that should satisfy its particular (and large) demographic.

PS Rating is for moviegoers, not cineastes!

Alan Frank

USA 2011. UK Distributor: Warner Bros.. Technicolor.
118 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 06 Dec 2011