Screening Room: “New Year’s Eve” is Nothing to Celebrate

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(Warner Bros.)
Last year, director Garry Marshall gave us the ensemble comedy, “Valentine’s Day.” It made more than $100 million at the box office, so Marshall has gone back to the well with a carbon copy, "New Year's Eve."
The biggest problem with "New Year's Eve" is that it's no fun. It's a snooze fest as cast of miscellaneous A-listers and a couple of not so A-listers try to convince you that they are having a good time. Do you know how difficult it is to make a movie about New Year's Eve not be fun? Well director Gary Marshall has done the nearly impossible. And no one should be surprised. He's the director responsible for "Valentine's Day." Remember how bad that movie was? Well in case you forgot or you didn't know, it was awful, and in many ways "New Year's Eve" is worst.
“New Year’s Eve” is an ensemble comedy that packs a bunch of stars into a series of interconnected rom-com stories set during New Year’s Eve. In every respect, it’s on a par with its predecessor…and that’s not saying much.
"New Year's Eve" is just way too old-fashioned to matter to most and way too many cast members to keep track of during these not so fabulous proceedings. What's meant to be a celebration is a frustrating exercise in blandness. Not all is wasted. There are a couple of the story lines that manage to work. The interplay between Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeiffer is interesting and could have been expanded into a full movie. The interaction between Academy Award winners Halle Berry and Robert DeNiro is solid but the story is so somber to the point of being lifeless despite the fact it's the rare instance in "New year's Eve" where real acting takes place.
The writing is sitcom shallow and the actors are simply going through the paces. Three Oscar winners, Robert De Niro, Hillary Swank and Halle Berry, go slumming in this lazy enterprise. If playing a game of ‘name that star’ is your idea of a good time, then “New Year’s Eve” might prove to be a passable time waster. For the rest of us, only the funny outtakes seen in the closing credits make it bearable.
Ultimately this movie doesn't work because there are too many characters all supported by half baked thoughts and ideas. And centering the movies plot on the ball dropping in Time's Square couldn't be more dull. This is a messy movie that's flatter than two day old champagne. They would have been better off giving 25 random people video cameras on December 31st and editing their footage. Now that would have been exciting not excruciating.
RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags

"New Year's Eve" is no party

(Parachutte Pictures)
“Saint” is only marginally better. This horror comedy from the Netherlands is about the evil side of Saint Nicholas. It seems Sinterklaas was really a murderous 15th century bishop who was burned alive by villagers. His evil spirit returns every 42 years –whenever there’s a full moon on December 5th – and he takes revenge by slaughtering as many innocent folks has he can in one night. This grisly spoof is well produced and mounted, but just doesn’t have quite enough sick laughs to make it a cult favorite.

RUSS: 2 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: Did Not Screen.

"Saint" is a cheeky horror spoof.


Then there is Jonah Hill who stars as a college student on suspension who is coaxed into babysitting the kids next door, though he is fully unprepared for the wild night ahead of him in a movie that has obviously been on the shelf because he's since lost about one hundred pounds since this thing was shot.

RUSS: Did Not Screen
SHAWN: Did Not Screen.

Jonah Hill stars in "The Sitter"

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