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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 February 2019

New Year's Eve offers well-worn romantic comedy tropes

There are entertaining moments to be found but they're scattered across a sea of quickly put together, cheesy romcom vignettes.
Josh Duhamel as Sam and Cherry Jones as Mrs Ahern in New Year's Eve. Courtesy Warner Bros
Josh Duhamel as Sam and Cherry Jones as Mrs Ahern in New Year's Eve. Courtesy Warner Bros

New Year's Eve

Director: Garry Marshall

Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Robert De Niro, Hilary Swank, Michelle Pfeiffer

Set in New York, New Year's Eve follows several loosely linked people on December 31 as they hurtle towards 2012 - a dowdy office worker (Michelle Pfeiffer) who tasks a cocky messenger boy (Zac Efron) with fulfilling all her New Year's wishes by midnight; two lonely strangers (Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele) stuck in a lift; a dying elderly man (Robert De Niro) living in hospital, regretting his mistakes; and many more. Director Garry Marshall is back with essentially the same concept as his 2010 film Valentine's Day only for a different holiday. This sequel of sorts, however, does not contain the same sentimental magic of the previous film, as the various short stories range from the manipulative (De Niro's plot is designed solely to put a lump in your throat) to the downright boring (Sarah Jessica Parker as a fraught mother chasing her daughter round the Big Apple seems utterly pointless). Coupled with the ill-thought out stories are lacklustre performances from A-list stars clearly hoping for a quick paycheque. The worst offender has to be Jon Bon Jovi who, despite playing a musician, has less personality than a New Year's Eve balloon, and has no chemistry whatsoever with Katherine Heigl, once again coming across as cold and disagreeable as his former lover. There are entertaining moments to be found - Pfeiffer and Efron make an amusing double act in their sweet and touching story - but they are scattered across a sea of quickly put together, cheesy romcom vignettes that fail to put across any kind of meaningful message.

artslife@thenational.ae

Updated: December 22, 2011 04:00 AM

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