People learn lessons about love in its various forms — romantic, familial, of life — in New Year’s Eve, a tedious, nerve-fraying short story collection about Dec. 31 in New York City.
This is what we get for paying money to see Valentine’s Day. Let this be a lesson to us.
So, on this day:
• Sad-sack assistant Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) decides to check off all the items on her bucket list with help from hyper squirrel Paul (Zac Efron).
• One pregnant couple (Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers) competes against another couple (Sarah Paulson, Til Schweiger) to try to have the first baby of the new year and win $20,000 in cash.
• A stock Katherine Heigl-character-ish chef (Katherin Heigl) is all wound up by a big gala event featuring rock star Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi), who is also her ex-boyfriend. Sofia Vergara appears in this storyline for comic relief and to, in the final scenes, wear a dress so ridiculous it can make Heigl’s hideous dress look OK (it doesn’t work; Heigl’s still looks worse).
• An out-of-work New Year’s Eve Scrooge (Ashton Kutcher) gets stuck in an elevator with an aggravating Jensen backup singer (Lea Michele, who can stop already).
• An aggravating costume designer (Sarah Jessica Parker, who also needs to cool it) can’t quite bring herself to let her teenage daughter (Abigail Breslin) go out for New Year’s Eve and so, naturally, the girl runs away and the mother spends all night looking for her.
• A playboy (Josh Duhamel) considers whether or not to reconnect with the mysterious woman he met last New Year’s Eve.
• The woman (Hilary Swank) running the ball drop in Times Square deals with an assortment of problems, all with the help of a cop played by Ludacris.
• And, perhaps not realizing just what kind of shoddy affair they’ve involved themselves with, Robert De Niro plays a dying patient whose company on his last night is a nurse played by Halle Berry who has her own New Year’s heartache.
Some of the characters’ stories weave in and out, some never meet. Doesn’t matter, they’re all uninteresting and, as we well know going in, all of them will end with some kind of big warm hug.
What’s the New Year’s equivalent for “bah humbug”?
The performances range from “not embarrassing” to “dopey” and the stories fall on the spectrum between “barely tolerable” and “aaagh, my eyes!” Some of them feel as though the writers forgot to write them all the way through. Some feel like they were written solely for the purpose of having a funny moment in the trailer. None of these storylines are ever the least bit surprising or intriguing for any reason.
Let’s all save our money and hope they don’t already have Flag Day or Columbus Day in the works. D
Rated PG-13 for some language including some sexual references. Directed by Garry Marshall and written by Katherine Fugate, New Year’s Eve is an hour and 58 minutes long and distributed by Warner Brothers.