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New Year's Eve (2011)
New Years Heave
The trouble with ensemble comedies - romantic or otherwise - is that the audience is given little time to develop a relationship with any of their characters. This is certainly the case with Garry Marshall's seasonal effort New Years Eve, but the problems with the film are far from done there.
Stuck somewhere between a 'Visit New York' advert and meandering rom-com, few of the movies plots are linked and many are only hastily so at the end of the movie, almost as an afterthought. The film is incredibly low on laughs of any variety and despite - or perhaps because of - its huge star cast it never feels like its going anywhere, much like the Times Square ball which gets as much screen time as anybody.
The characterisation is incredibly lazy; Ashton Kutcher plays a pyjama-wearing stoner cartoonist, Zac Efron is the plucky young go-getter, De Niro (who will sign up for anything these days) is the grumpy old coot. These typecasts are bad enough before Lea Michele appears essentially playing Rachel Berry from Glee, replete with the screeching vocal performances. The cherry on top of the cake, however, is Michelle Pfeiffer who re-enacts her performance in Batman Returns as kooky wallflower Selina Kyle; to my immense disappointment she never became Catwoman and proceeded to whip up any sense of excitement.
The one positive thing I could say about this film is that it isn't offensively bad, except I cant because three of the precious few non-white, non-American characters are horrendously bad racial stereotypes. I'll leave you to spot them should you have the misfortune of having to endure this vapid exercise in futility.