Every once in a while a movie comes along that has no deep message; no car chases or tons of explosives; and what's best is it isn't in 3D. The purpose of these movies is just to entertain, and such a movie is New Year's Eve. This Garry Marshall-directed film has a cast of thousands, or at least it seems that way, and they participate in short vignettes that are sad, funny or musical. Each aspect of the film succeeds, and with all the "heavy" movies being thrust upon us lately it is a welcome relief.
Each of the "stories" are somehow connected; some directly and some indirectly. You have the case of the bike messenger (Zac Efron) trying to fulfill the "wish list" of an unmarried 50-something lady (Michelle Pfeiffer). Efron's sister in the movie is played by Sarah Jessica Parker, who is trying to keep her 15 year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin) under control.
Breslin wants to go to Times Square on New Year's Eve to see the ball drop at midnight. Hilary Swank's character is also at Times Square as she is in charge of the whole "ball drop" thing. She is assisted by Common who is her second in command. Hector Elizondo plays a repairman who arrives at the last minute to make some repairs on the ball.
Also tied into the ball drop on New Year's Eve are characters played by Lea Michelle, Jon Bon Jovi and Ashton Kutcher. Michelle and Bon Jovi provide some musical numbers for the film that are very enjoyable. It is great to see Jon Bon Jovi back in a film and he is still as likeable and charismatic as ever.
Robert De Niro has one of the most touching stories as a man in a hospital who wants to see the ball drop. Hallie Berry plays his nurse and Cary Elwes is his doctor. De Niro's is a small part, as are all the parts in this movie, but he brings the full force of his talent to the role.
The film is rated PG-13 for profanity.
Each and every actor seems to enjoy his/her part in the overall movie. No one just walks through his/her role and each spreads his/her talent around. The musical numbers are just right with a duet by Jon Bon Jovi and Lea Michelle being a highlight. Swank and De Niro give perfect dramatic impact to their parts, while Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi play the most romantic roles.
Make sure you watch through the credits so you can enjoy the outtakes from the film. They are hilarious. Plus, you don't have to wait through all the credits to see them. They come on immediately following the end of the film.
For a purely relaxing and enjoyable evening go to see New Year's Eve. It won't show up on any awards lists or even Top Ten lists, but it surely will entertain you -- and what is wrong with that?
I scored New Year's Eve a midnight 7 out of 10.