New Year’s Eve
“New Year’s Eve” is one of those ensemble kind of movies, where they tell the story of many different characters in the same time period, some of whom will overlap in the end. That type of format is irritating to the people who would rather see fewer characters more developed, but it’s great for those with a little Attention Deficit who get bored easily and want to not spend too much time on any one scenario. And, as with most films of this format, it’s very uneven. Some characters you wish you knew better, and others don’t seem to add to the story at all.
The story is that all these people are looking forward to being in or around Times Square at precisely midnight at New Year’s Eve, or, if you will, the first moment of 2012. There are the young couples expecting babies to be delivered at any moment, and both want the “prize” for the first birth of the New Year (this is where Jessica Biel drops her well-placed f-bomb, but during hard labor we’ll forgive anything). Robert DeNiro plays a dying man who’s somehow managed to alienate everyone in his life and so is lying in his hospital bed alone, but who wouldn’t want Halle Berry as a caring, attentive nurse?
Hilary Swank plays the one in charge of the festivities, who somehow fears for her job being on the line, and Katherine Heigl the chief chef of the big party, whose boyfriend is a pop star named Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi), who’s really sorry he left her to go on tour.
Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele get stuck in an elevator together, and surprise, develop a sudden attachment (and it’s always a treat hearing the “Glee” star sing). Michelle Pfeiffer plays a middle-aged mousey secretary who finally decides to do something interesting, helped by an energetic Zac Efron, playing a delivery boy. Sarah Jessica Parker plays the single Mom of a sweet teenager trying to rebel (Abigail Breslin).
Well, there’s more, but you get the idea. Lots of little stories, none of them with much depth, but we want to root for these characters because they’re all trying hard, and they’re basically sweet and good-natured, and so is this movie. This one is about as inoffensive as they get, and has a good heart. But don’t expect any Academy Awards. Just a sweet little popcorn date movie.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Interim Pastor, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving , Texas