Movie review: New Year's Eve

Director Garry Marshall is clearly a fan of the saying "If it ain't broke, don't fix it", as his latest film is an identikit version of his last. New Year's Eve is simply Valentine's Day with a different cast and with more confetti. What they also have in common is that they both go heavy on the schmaltz.

The film is set in New York City on, would you believe it, New Year's Eve. It follows the stories of a number of characters, some of them more believable than others, as the countdown to a new year begins.

As anyone who has experienced a New Year's Eve in NYC can testify to, the dropping of the ball in Times Square is a big deal. Co-ordinating the event is Claire Morgan (Hilary swank); it's a lot of pressure on her to make sure the ball actually works, and if that wasn't enough, she also doesn't have a good head for heights.

Then there's Randy (Ashton Kutcher); he's a New Year's Eve Grinch that happens to get stuck in a lift with Elise (Glee's Lea Michele). He's more than happy with the situation, but Elise has a big job that night that she needs to get to.

Elsewhere in the city two couples make their way to hospital, as both of them are expecting a child. As it turns out the hospital is offering a cash prize for the first baby born in the new year (only in America), which makes both couples become overly competitive to take the cash.

But it's not all fun and fluff. Stan Harris (Robert De Niro) is also in hospital. He has cancer and according to his doctor, doesn't have much time left. All he wants to do is see the ball drop one last time, but his doctor doesn't think it will be possible.

Meanwhile Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) has decided to make some changes in her life and wants to tick off some her many previous resolutions. Thanks to some tickets she has for a swanky party that night, she manages to enlist the help of courier Paul (Zac Efron).

And so it goes on.

As a concepts go, it's an interesting one. Not one character's storyline gets precedence, so you get lots of bite-sized story chunks, one after the other. And with so many famous faces in it, it feels weirdly like Hollywood doing a Band Aid, but without any good coming from it, for anyone.

The film itself is like a generic all-you-can-eat buffet; there will bits of it that will take your fancy, whilst others will no doubt leave you feeling very ill indeed.

It's just a pity that the writing overall is more disappointing than most past New Year's Eve's. The story of caterer Laura (Katherine Heigl) and rock star Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi) for one is particularly insipid.

Still, if you're the type that finds a certain comfort from watching a film on a channel devoted entirely to yuletide festivities, then you may find yourself getting sucked into the spirit with this offering.

But if that doesn't sound like you, then it might be worth your while to stick this one on your resolution list as a film you should most definitely avoid.

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