It's Almost the New Year! "New Year's Eve" Review

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

It's Almost the New Year! "New Year's Eve" Review

Rating:PG-13 (language, including some sexual references)
Length: 118minutes
Release Date:December 6, 2011
Directed by:Garry Marshall

"New Year's Eve" is the type of movie that has one major purpose: to entertain viewers. Although it does not delve into deep and intricate plots, this feel-good romantic comedy certainly doesn't fail to make viewers laugh. Directed by Garry Marshall, the star-studded movie shows sad, funny, and musical vignettes and intertwines different stories.

"New Year's Eve" has a long list of cast members, as it features a variety of stories, some of which are directly intertwined while others are indirectly connected. The movie follows several characters from New York and other cities, showing how the ''New Year's Eve'' holiday affects them. Most of them have to make crucial decisions before midnight. There's the story of a bike messenger named Paul (Zac Efron) who tries to fulfill the wish list of an old maiden named Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), who's in her 50s. If Paul successfully makes her wish list come true, Ingrid will give him tickets to a masked ball.

Sarah Jessica Parker plays Efron's sister Kim, who struggles to control her teenage daughter Hailey (Abigail Breslin). Hailey desires to spend the New Year's Eve at Times Square so she can witness the ball dropping at midnight. Claire (Hilary Swank), the person in charge of the city's annual celebration, has to ask for help from a previously fired electrician when a sudden problem arises. There's also the story of Laura (Katherine Heigl), a chef tasked to cook for a record company's New Year's Eve party. She bumps into her ex (Jon Bon Jovi) at the event, who was coincidentally hired to perform at the party. Other promenent actors and actresses in the film include Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michelle, who perform musical numbers in the film.

Bon Jovi's return to the screen is actually a pleasant surprise, as he appears to be charismatic and likeable, especially during his singing performance. He sings melodious songs "Have a Little Faith in Me" and "I Can't Turn You Loose."

Sam (Josh Duhamel) also makes an appearance as an enthusiastic man who's looking forward to meet his dream girl, whom he met last New Year's Eve. However, he encounters a highway mishap on his way to the city. There are also funny scenes, such as the one when two couples compete for a $25,000 prize, which will be given to the first couple to have a child after the new year. "New Year's Eve" also features multiple popular destinations, including the Queens Museum of Art and Radio City Music Hall.

Robert De Niro plays the most touching character in the film. He is a man confined to a hospital who wishes to see the ball drop. His nurse Aimee (Halle Berry) takes care of him. Although his role is minor, he gives a powerful performance that makes his character memorable. Many of the film's cast are Oscar nominees and winners, and there are a host of promising young talents in the film as well. They all delivered great performances and brought screenwriter Katherine Fugate's characters to life.

This movie explores the spirit of the holiday season through the eyes of different types of characters. "New Year's Eve" predictably unfolds as most audiences might have expected, but there are still a handful of pleasurable surprises towards the finale. Director Marshall employed a rather laid-back pace throughout the film that helped tie the subplots together. It's worth nothing how hard it must have been to intertwine the various subplots, but it Marshall did a great job. There's one major theme that revolves around the stories: the end of one year and the start of another is everyone's chance for a fresh start.

Marshall sprinkled multiple musical numbers into the film. The duet with Bon Jovi and Michelle Phipher is the movie's musical highlight. Robert De Niro and Hillary Swank give commendable dramatic performances, and Katherine Heigl and Bon Jovi perform a romantic number.

Added to the end of the film are hilarious outtakes that definitely shouldn't be missed. All in all, "New Year's Eve" is a feel-good film with a light plot and great cast. It gives off an affable feeling that helps keep the attention of all types of viewers. It's an enjoyable and relaxing movie that couples, families, and groups of friends would enjoy. Its a great movie choice for anyone who wants to view a light-hearted movie during the holiday season.

Rating: 3 out of 5