By Maureen T. (Middlesex, NJ, USA)


New Year’s Eve is a movie appropriately named because it probably comes off better after having a few drinks. In the world of sobriety however, it is hardly a classic, and the depth of the individual plots – well, let’s just say it seems like a movie written by someone who had a few drinks. Fortunately, for many people who like to celebrate, having a few drinks is not all that bad of thing to do. And for all the mundane, stereotypical scenes in this movie that are just begging for criticism – it works.

This all-star cast is a definite plus, but with the multiple scenes and characters, the movie centers around no one in particular. You have a man (Robert De Niro) wishing to make restitution with his daughter before he dies. He also wishes to see the ball drop one last time – from the roof of a hospital. His daughter (Hilary Swank), the newly appointed Vice President of the Times Square Alliance, encounters problems with the ball that is supposed to drop but can’t because it fails to rise in the first place, due to a problem that only Kominsky, (Hector Elizondo), the unjustly fired and very disgruntled electrician, can fix. Equally disgruntled is Randy (Ashton Kutcher), who against all odds, becomes attracted to the gleeful back-up singer Elise (Lea Michele) while being stuck with her in an elevator.

Jon Bon Jovi is the featured entertainment, but for movie purposes, he is known as Jenson. He arranged to have his ex-fiancé (Katherine Heigl), whom he regrets jilting, hired to prepare the food for the exclusive Ahern Ball where all the stars will be attending. But as you may have guessed, she wants nothing better than to throw food at him – plus slap him in the face – twice (though she claims only once was necessary). Her lovable and star-struck assistant Ava (Sofia Vergara) provides comic relief here, and oddly enough, in a movie that I consider a satire, she brings a touch of reality.

The person most wanting to attend the Ahern Ball is the deliveryman Paul, who is offered four gigantic invitations by the very reserved Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), a top Ahern Record secretary, who, in a completely uncharacteristic decision, quits her job and writes an equally uncharacteristic bucket list for Paul to fulfill, if he really wants those tickets – and he does.

At the same time, two couples are in a fierce competition at a New York City hospital that was giving away $25,000 for the first baby delivered in the New Year. At one point, one couple, who was pro natural child birth all the way, requested a caesarean to be performed at – you guessed it – 12:00 AM New Year’s Day. And then there is the typical 15-year-old Hailey (Abigail Breslin), who is having the typical teen-aged argument with her typical single-parent mother Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker), who has the typical romantic fantasy that is met in the most untypical fashion at the end of the film. The object of her affection is Sam (Josh Duhamel) who is elected to give a speech at the Ahern Ball, where he makes a dedication to his deceased father, who probably owned the company. Sam’s car breaks down on the way, and he accepts a ride from a somewhat redneck family traveling in a camper. He is as infatuated with Kim as she is with him, even though the two only met once and hadn’t spoken in a year – Typical.

Perhaps Ryan Seacrest summed it up best when he said these things don’t happen to Dick Clark. Oh yeah, he was in the movie too. What’s New Year’s Eve these days without Ryan Seacrest?

But as corny as it was, the movie was fun. And in spite of it, there was a touch of bitter reality. How can you not feel for a nurse (Halle Berry) who rushes off her shift to dress up for her husband whom she is greeting via a too brief videoconference, as he is stationed in Afghanistan? And there’s the common theme and sentiment that unites these characters and makes them dear to us – hope. It’s hope for a new beginning, a second chance, and a more meaningful life. Why else do we watch the ball drop?

But in real life, if Sarah Michele thinks she can fill in for Bon Jovi and not have the crowd mind one bit, she is in for a rude awakening. And so is anyone who attempts to take this movie seriously. To appreciate it, you have to let your hair down a bit. After all, it’s New Year’s Eve.

Rating: 3/5


Best Quotes


[first lines]
Claire Morgan: [voice over] Some people swear there’s no beauty left in the world, no magic. Then how do you explain the entire world coming together on one night to celebrate the hope of a new year?


Radio Reporter Arthur: I’m talking to Claire Morgan, the new Vice President of the Times Square Alliance. So, big night?
Claire Morgan: Oh, I’d say that’s an understatement. Over a billion people from all over the world will have their eyes on us tonight as the ball drops, so I’d say that qualifies as a very big night.
[to the reporter]
Claire Morgan: Am I looking at the right spot for the camera?
Radio Reporter Arthur: Oh, um, we’re radio.
Claire Morgan: Right. Of course.


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