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New Year's Eve (7/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 110 minutes

OK for children.

These "calvacade of stars" movies are generally a complete waste of time. This one, directed by  Garry Marshall, is better than most, mainly because Marshall knows his way around a comedy, plus he gets good performances from some members of his cast, like Zac Efron, Katherine Heigl, Jon Bon Jovi, and Michelle Pfeiffer, who gives her Diane Keaton impersonation. In fact, had I not known better I would have thought that it was Diane, but the Diane of 20 years ago.

There's no plot that I could determine, just a bunch of vignettes (eight in all) about people on New Year's Eve tied together by Hilary Swank's effort to get the big ball fixed so it could drop on time. There are lots of other "stars" in this but it would take up my entire allocation of words to list them.

There is a coming-of-age first, Abigail Breslin becoming a young woman and getting a romantic kiss. Then there are those who clearly were only on the set for a day or two, like Robert De Niro, who is terminal and in bed for most of his few scenes.

There is one dichotomy that really hit home. Swank gives a maudlin speech about never giving up and second chances, a big turn around for the woman who starred in the most disgraceful homage to giving up ever made, Million Dollar Baby (2004).

Despite that, the vignettes are relatively harmless and while generally uninvolving, it's better than sitting through some other films that are out there right now. This is at least a sweet film with no lasciviousness and no profanity and a nice moral. And it's well-paced and holds your interest.

December 9, 2011