Film review: NEW YEARS EVE from Built for Speed

The occasion of New Years Eve usually involves high expectations, crushing disappointment, obnoxious people and subsequent feelings of nausea.  The film version maintains this tradition… minus the high expectations.

Like last year’s unbearable Valentine’s Day, New Years Eve tries to wrench drama, romance and comedy from an all-star cast struggling with a disaster filled day of public celebration. The film flits around the various characters to view their crumbling relationships and thwarted dreams with the hope that they might be saved by the unifying magic of the occasion.  This mostly adds up to a series of unsatisfying story fragments, cardboard characters and hideous greeting card dialogue.

The big name cast includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Sarah Jessica Parker, Hilary swank and John Bon Jovi. The all-star cast concept is no excuse, though, for allowing Ashton Kutcher to be in the same film as Robert de Niro. Bob is about the only person lending this film any weight as he plays a terminally ill man looking to fulful one last wish.  Kutcher on the other hand plays an annoying, cynical New Years Eve Grinch who winds up stuck in elevator with one of the cast of Glee.

A stocky looking Zac Efron also appears as a cocky and obnoxious bike courier who spends most of the film annoying uptight and de-glamourized Michelle Pfeiffer.  The Pfeiff’s role as a fidgety neurotic office drone is well beneath her.

While it’s meant to be a romantic comedy, humour and romantic chemistry are pretty much absent. There is an amusing cameo, though, from Larry Miller who famously played the hostage negotiator in A Mighty Wind and the doorman with a chip on his shoulder in Seinfeld.

To be fair, the film begins much more promisingly than the Valentine’s Day movie and does feature some enticing New York locations as well as the famous panorama of the city at the Queens Museum of Art.  By about two thirds of the way through, though, the film’s thin plotting and cringe worthy dialogue will have some audience members beating Olympic qualifying times as they run for the exits.

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