Taking a cue from his previous ensemble-powered Valentine's Day, director Garry Marshall gathers a formidable cast to tackle New Year's Eve in another forgettable romantic comedy.
The film takes place in New York on the day of New Year's Eve and wraps up soon after the famous ball drops in Times Square at midnight. But as there are so many actors involved there's hardly time to tell any of their characters' stories. Really little more than snapshots into each character's life, the narratives represent a variety of generations and relationships, all themed around the idea of second chances.
It's hard to stand out in such a crowd and it's a mixed bag of performances. Sophia Vergara (Modern Family) is the most enjoyable purely because she's the only one to really hit her mark with comedic timing, while Halle Berry manages to strike an emotional chord and charmer Zac Efron makes his smart-mouthed party dude character endearing.
On the other side of the ledger, Hilary Swank's story relies too much on innuendo and feels forced, and who knows what Michelle Pfeiffer was trying to achieve with her performance as a strung out and nervy secretary? What a waste.
If it all sounds a little mysterious, that's intentional.
The only real intrigue in the film is how all the characters relate to each other with all revealed in the third act. The end credits comes with with a montage of bloopers, which, worryingly, deliver more laughs than the preceding two hours. Yes, New Year's Eve impresses with its guest list but here these famous acquaintances are to be forgotten and never brought to mind.
Cast: Robert De Niro, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Jessica Parker
Director: Garry Marshall
Running time: 118 mins
Rating: M (Offensive language)
Verdict: A contrived, overly sentimental ode to the last night of the year