The Worst Part of the Star-Studded, Garry Marshall-Directed New Year’s Eve

Shockingly, it's not the mediocre acting, total lack of character development, or the cliched dialogue ...

There are stupid movies and then there are stoopid movies. The stoopid movies are the ones that should be avoided at all costs — those of the Glitter or Gigli ilk — which after viewing make you feel like you’ve lost part of your youth. The stupid movies, on the other hand—as my friend so eloquently stated—are those that are rented on a rainy night when it’s just you and a box of wine. (Well, she said a glass of wine. But whatever). Like Death Becomes Her and National Treasure. They’re dumb, but that’s their charm. New Year’s Eve, Garry Marshall’s new holiday schlockfest starring every available actor who wasn’t in his craptastic Valentine’s Day, falls somewhere in between. Though probably closer to the stoopid end of the spectrum.

It is New Year’s Eve … in New York City, of course. Michelle Pfeiffer convinces Zac Efron to help her complete her New Year’s list, Robert De Niro is dying alone, Sarah Jessica Parker struggles with her teenage daughter Abigail Breslin, Seth Myers and Jessica Biel are expecting a baby, Hilary Swank is in charge of the Times Square ball drop, Jon Bon Jovi tries to woo back his jilted ex Katherine Heigl, Lea Michelle and Ashton Kutcher are stuck in an elevator, and Ryan Seacrest annoys.

Continuing the actor cavalcade is Matthew Broderick, Halle Berry, Alyssa Milano, Cary Elwes, and many, many, many more.

What frustrates me about this movie (unlike Love Actually, for example) is how little I care for any of the individual storylines. Taken separately, each vignette is barely a story — they’re hackneyed moments that are only memorable for the actors who star in them. Put together, they coalesce into a shiny holiday ornament that’s completely hollow. There are a few gleeful scenes (ironically, none involving Lea Michelle), but these are far overshadowed by sheer ridiculousness (the line “Let the best va-jay-jay win”), egregious product placements (giant Sherlock Holmes 2 Times Square poster, the hilariously random drink “Disaronno and cranberry” which is described as Duhamel’s favorite), horrible styling (what happened to Abigail Breslin?), the awkward attempt to connect the storylines (SPOILER ALERT: 24-year-old Zac Efron is 46-year-old Sarah Jessica Parker’s brother), and Jessica Biel.

Poor, poor Jessica Biel. Her performance as a pregnant woman is just awful. Not just because of her clichéd delivery of the clichéd dialogue in the clichéd delivery scene, but also because of the soft pillow used as her pregnant belly. In one scene, while she’s squeezing away at the cottony padding, you can actually see the pillow pull away from her body.

Garry Marshall is at least in on the pithiness of New Year’s Eve (and Valentine’s Day). In a 2010 interview with Variety he said he’s “the official holiday director. After New Year’s, I’ll do some Jewish holidays, maybe Arbor Day. That could be a riot.” I’m not against the idea of these movies. I just wish more time had been spent adding substance to the film rather than just another star. Well that and finding a better pregnancy pillow for Biel.

My Grade: C-