Director Garry Marshall and screenwriter Katherine Fugate had a hit last year with VALENTINE’S DAY. Now they’re back with another formulaic romantic comedy with a lot of intertwining stories set over the course of a single day in a single city, in this case New Year’s Eve in New York. Katherine Heigl, for instance, is a caterer who’s working an event for her rockstar ex-boyfriend. He’s played by master thespian Jon Bon Jovi.
That’s Sofia Vergara channeling Charo as Heigl’s chef. In another subplot, Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michelle play neighbors stuck in an elevator. You can see where this one is going.
Meanwhile, Kutcher’s best friend, a courier played by Zac Efron—who is able to get from borough to borough in minutes through the magic of bad storytelling—has been hired by a dowdy record company employee to help her rediscover her zest for life. She's played by Michelle Pfieffer.
Every episode feels like the set-up for a bad comedy show skit. The movie is also neither romantic nor funny—at least not intentionally funny. In other words, it fails to accomplish any of the things it sets out to do, which is why I’m giving it a thumbs down.
CHRISTY: Thumbs down from me. I had a lot of questions watching this movie like was this supposed to be good? I’m really really wondering.
IGNATIY: You know…
CHRISTY: I don’t know!
IGNATIY: I don’t believe anybody working on this film set out to make a great movie. I’m not even sure they set out to make a good movie. I think they just set out to make…
CHRISTY: Then why bother?
IGNATIY: I think they set out to make a movie that people wouldn’t mind watching if they were to wander into a movie theater and…
CHRISTY: Well that’s just lazy and depressing. Um, the other question I have was would I want to see any of these individual plots made into it’s own full-length film? And I can’t choose a single one because everyone here is so cliché. They’re so shallow. You can’t tell if they’re actual human beings. None of them have any chemistry. Is there any chemistry at all between anybody? I mean Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michelle maybe.
IGNATIY: A little bit, a little bit.
CHRISTY: Robert DeNiro and Halle Berry?
IGNATIY: Definitely not between Robert DeNiro and Halle Berry.
CHRISTY: Ugh, is…Ryan Seacrest and his assistant maybe? I was very very confused, and I wanted to laugh. I wanted it to be bad in a fun way, and it’s not even that.
IGNATIY: I have to admit I laughed when Hilary Swank gives the big speech about the magic of New Year’s Eve.
CHRISTY: Everyone stops what they’re doing all over Times Square all over the world to watch Hilary Swank.
IGNATIY: This is set in a fantasy New York where people care about New Year’s Eve at Time Square.
CHRISTY: I’m baffled.