FILM REVIEW: 'New Year's Eve'

> New Year's Eve
2 stars (out of 5)

Director: Garry Marshall
Cast: Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Halle Berry, Seth Meyers, Jessica Biel, Katherine Heigl, Jon Bon Jovi, Ashton Kutcher, Lee Michele, Abigail Breslin, Josh Duhamel, Hilary Swank, Hector Elizondo
Rating: (M)

Last year director Garry Marshall gave us Valentine's Day, a multi-strand tale of romantic complications during Valentine's Day in Los Angeles.

It did well enough for him to now give us New Year's Eve (Hoyts and Rialto) a multi-strand tale based on New Year's Eve in New York.

I liked Valentine's Day and had high hopes for this one. But who has not already seen umpteen films where New Year's Eve in New York is presented as the ultimate in romance?

It got off to a great start, concentrating on people whose occupations mean they have to work on the biggest party night of the year. Then it petered out.

Marshall has got it into his head that a key component to romantic films is a great dollop of mystery.

Well, he is wrong. We do not care about people getting together at midnight if we have no clue which set of folks lock in where and it does not help if the big reveal leaves us incredulous.

I wanted to like this but found it too scattered; too silly; too so-what. Never mind, there is always next year.

Best thing: Michelle Pfeiffer gets the best storyline and she deserves it, because she is the only one not phoning this in.

Worst thing: New Year is a time of forgiveness and second chances and boy, Americans love to stand on a soapbox and tell us so. Just once, could they keep their heart-warming opinions to themselves?

See it with: A Christmas grump longing to pretend they have bypassed the big one and are on the home stretch to New Year.

- Christina Powley


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