‘New Year’s Eve’: The Reviews Are In!

Critics complain of the movie's crowded cast and 'half-dozen trivial subplots.'

How many stars does it take to make a successful romantic comedy? Whatever the right answer may be, the reviews for “New Year’s Eve” indicate that two dozen is probably too many.

The follow-up to last year’s successful “Valentine’s Day,” the star-packed rom-com modeled on “Love Actually,” has earned some of the worst reviews of the year, with critics complaining of over-jammed story lines and convenient storytelling.

Check out our roundup of the reviews to help you decide whether to check out “New Year’s Eve” this weekend.

The Story
“Elsewhere in the great big city, a wondrous toy, just made for a girl and boy: Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele are stuck in an elevator together. Robert De Niro lies dying in a hospital, hoping to see the ball drop from the rooftop one last time. Halle Berry is his nurse. Michelle Pfeiffer is the mousy record company executive who cuts loose with the help of hopped-up delivery boy-man Zac Efron. Katherine Heigl (playing a Type-A control freak, for a change) and Jon Bon ‘Blasé Beyond Previously Known Human Limits’ Jovi discuss past heartache and future prospects at the swank New Year’s Eve party hosted by Cherry Jones, whose son, Josh Duhamel, is stuck in Connecticut and trying to get back. Sarah Jessica Parker is the mother of Abigail Breslin, the latter desperate to get off on her own with her pals.” — Michael Phillips, The Chicago Tribune

The Cast
“The casting is the least of this movie’s problems, but the most bizarre. Michelle Pfeiffer plays a lonely old biddy — what are they trying to do to her? — and Sarah Jessica Parker (born 1965) and Zac Efron (born 1987) are brother and sister. (Oh, their poor mother.) Josh Duhamel, who looks as if he’s 30, goes through the movie talking about a planned midnight rendezvous with the woman of his dreams. Then the woman shows up, looking not quite old enough to be his mother, but like a half sister from a previous marriage. It’s as if the roles were handed out by lottery.” — Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Hilary Swank
“How is it possible to assemble more than two dozen stars in a movie and find nothing interesting for any of them to do? What sins did poor Hilary Swank commit, that after winning two Oscars, she has to play the role of the woman in charge of the New Year’s Eve ball in Times Square? And if you don’t think there’s dialogue about getting her ball to drop, you’re barking up the wrong movie.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The Directing and Screenplay
” ‘New Year’s Eve’ was directed by Garry Marshall (best known for ‘Pretty Woman’) from a screenplay by Katherine Fugate. Last year the same team gave us the similarly unendurable ‘Valentine’s Day.’ Like its forerunner, ‘New Year’s Eve’ interweaves more than a half-dozen trivial subplots into a cheerlessly cheery mosaic. The screenplay isn’t written so much as assembled in carefully slotted little blocks, following the rules of a screenwriting textbook.” — Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Final Word
“Why bother with a new title? ‘New Year’s Eve’ is simply 2010′s ‘Valentine’s Day’ all over again, and it’s about as appealing as a flute of cheap Champagne left over from the last holiday. Sitting through ‘New Year’s Eve’ is like attending a crowded party filled with pretty people who have nothing to say.” — Claudia Puig, USA Today

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Check out everything we’ve got on “New Year’s Eve.”

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