By Gary Murray

 Starring just about every actor in Hollywood

 Written by Katherine Fugate

 Directed by Garry Marshall

 Running time 114 min

 MPAA Rating PG-13

 Selig Film Rating Cable


Garry Marshall is probably known for his television work.  He was the creative force behind Happy Days and their ilk.  He has also been making major motion pictures, the most successful Pretty Woman.  Last year he found success with the light Valentine’s Day, an ensemble comedy about the holiday.  It has spurned a quasi sequel with New Year’s Eve


The film is a series of vignettes connected by the theme of New Year’s Eve.  Some of the stories are sweet, some funny and some bittersweet.  We get such sit-com staples as Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele caught in an elevator and Jessica Biel and Seth Meyers in a race to deliver the first New Year’s baby to win a boatload of cash.  Sarah Jessica Parker plays a mother who changes her plans to stay with her daughter (Abigail Breslin), a teenager who wants that first magical New Year kiss.


The basic plot revolves around the ball drop, a party and a music company.   Different people in the music firm and their tangent relationships build the basis for all the relationships of New Year’s Eve.  Jon Bon Jovi is our rock singer and major talent for the party while Katherine Heigl is the caterer of the affair.  She is also the former lover of our rock star.


Robert DeNiro chews just about every scene he is in playing a dying man who wants to see that ball drop just one more time.  Halle Berry is her nurse with her own plans for the holiday.  Hillary Swank is the executive in charge of the ball drop, a ball that is malfunctioning.  All the stories build and crisscross to the eventual change to 2012 and the promise of a new year.


With a film like this one, few of the actors get much screen time to stand out from the pack.  The film is chocked full of so many Oscar winners that one would expect there to be some break out performances.  Unfortunately, no one gets much of a chance to do anything more than recite lines and look Hollywood good. 


The biggest laughs come from Sofia Vergara in a very minor role.  Her Latin bombshell shtick gives much needs gut laughs in what is a tired premise that wears out its welcome well before the two hours un-spools.


In the world of New Year’s Eve, all the people are pretty and all the problems slight.  Everyone knows just how all the bits are going to play out, with few surprises.  It is like all romantic comedies, the fun is the journey not the destination.  While it was great to see some of the faces on the Silver Screen, the final product was much ado about nothing.  The film is like chocolate, something sweet that doesn’t supply much nutrition. 


A final note—there should be a game called ‘Shoot the Sherlock’ while watching New Year’s Eve.  How the game works is every time one sees the ad for the new Sherlock Holmes film, one has to take a shot.  By the end of two hours, everyone will be blitzed. This is a perfect example of irritatingly bad product placement. 

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