There are many offensively bad things about NEW YEAR'S EVE, but nothing more than the sheer waste of talent it represents. This is probably the lowest common denominator flick you can imagine, essentially an excuse to put a bunch of famous faces together as vaguely related characters stuck in a predictable, wholesale story in an attempt to sucker in Middle America. The result is even worse than Gary Marshall's precursor film VALENTINE’S DAY, if that’s possible.
I can see cinematically glorifying Valentine's Day to women, because (no offense, ladies) a lot of them already do that and it at least lends itself to a romantic comedy. But in the search for a sequel, Marshall and Co. picked perhaps the most generic holiday to mine for movie dollars with a leaden story about second chances and reinvigorating your life. Do people really view New Year's Eve as some life-changing holy occasion? This movie seems to think so. It's about new resolutions, taking chances, finding love and making your every dream come true– all in the most broad, inoffensive way possible. Every character talks in self-help generalities like, “Follow your dreams!” or “Second chances don’t expire until midnight!” or "Celebrate the hope of a New Year!”
All the actors who agreed to do this movie should be horribly embarrassed. And that’s like half of Hollywood because somehow NEW YEAR'S EVE features Hillary Swank, Robert DeNiro, Sarah Jessica Parker, Ashton Kutcher, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Jessica Biel, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Heigl, Sofia Vergara, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, John Lithgow, Seth Myers, Cary Elwes, Carla Gugino, Matthew Broderick, that girl from "Glee," INGLORIOUS BASTARD Til Schweiger, and even New Kid on the Block Joey McIntire. It’s almost impressive that they got so much talent and had them do absolutely nothing.
Obviously each performer in the ensemble cast gets a few minutes of screentime at best, but the script still manages to pack in as much awful as possible in what little time it has. Romantic subplots between Zac Efron and Michelle Pfeiffer or Sarah Jessica Parker and a non-equestrian creature are definitely bizarre, but Katherine Heigl and Bon Jovi might be the most painful pairing in the history of love stories. You also get LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE's Abigail Breslin flashing her chest and acting disturbingly grown up, Ashton Kutcher pretending to be a guy who can't get laid, and Jessica Biel and Sarah Paulson fighting to have the first baby of the New Year for cash. (“May the best vajayjay win!” is a real line in this movie.) But perhaps the absolute worst is Robert DeNiro as a man dying of cancer who just wants to live long enough to see the ball drop one last time. It's astoundingly terrible and blatant pandering to the Big Apple. One of the character's dying lines is, “There’s nothing like the New York City air!”
And just when you thought NEW YEAR'S EVE can't possibly get any worse, an elevator door opens and BAM!—it’s a cameo by Jim Belushi! ABANDON SHIP!
Deleted Scenes (7:48): JOHN STAMOS WITH A MUSTACHE! Why wasn't this in the movie?
Gag Reel (11:06): The most amazing thing about this movie is how much Gary Marshall cares about his gag reel. It's amazing; professionally edited with an introduction, musical montages, title cards and its own credit sequence. It's embarrassing how much effort went in to this compared to the actual movie.
Secrets of the Stars (6:15): The cast reminisces about their favorite NYE memories.
The Magic of Times Square (6:12): A brief look at shooting on location in NYC.
Jon Bon Jovi and Lea Michelle Rock New Year's Eve (5:25): SPOILER: They don't actually rock anything.
Though the Blu-Ray set also boasts a DVD and Digital Copy of the film, it's all on one annoying flipper-style disc.
Extra Tidbit: I only give this movie its one star due to a surprise cameo by Christine Lakin from “Step by Step.” She was one of my first crushes and I clearly chose wisely.