Be resolute in your refusal to see ‘NYE’
Oh, where to begin? Using the same formula as he did in “Valentine’s Day,” director Garry Marshall tries to recreate the same zeitgeist with another holiday. Let’s hope he skips the rest of them and moves on to another theme because I can tell you now there is no way I’m paying money to see “Labor Day.”
Marshall loves the feel-good, and there is plenty of it to go around with multiple stories that culminate at the stroke of midnight. Set in and around New York, famous for the sparkling “ball drop” that rings in each new year, this, too, becomes part of the story with cameos from New York’s Mayor David Bloomberg and Ryan Seacrest, the host of the televised event.
They get off easy while everyone else associated with this gigantic drag has to plod through their story lines as Marshall tugs shamelessly at every manufactured, fractured emotion. The worst of these deals with a man (Robert De Niro) dying of some unnamed disease. (De Niro is clearly just collecting a paycheck to fund more important projects.) As he lies in his hospital bed, he weakly expresses his last wish to make it to midnight — so he can see the ball drop in Times Square. I am not kidding you.
No one is spared in this treacly hot mess with a cast of thousands. At one point, a character observes that the party she’s catering will be “full of more celebrities than rehab,” but that’s only if you don’t count this movie. Even “Saturday Night Live” got in on the fun last week with a trailer spoof that featured everyone from Alan Alda to Casey Anthony. No, they are not actually in this movie, and they can consider themselves lucky.
The many, many unfortunate include Michelle Pfeiffer playing an Agnes Gooch-like secretary who wants to “live, live, live,” and her Auntie Mame is hottie Zac Ephron. And Josh Duhamel gets saddled with the same time, next year plot that keeps you guessing as with whom he’shooking up with. You’ll have narrowed down the suspects to a few after it’s apparent Katherine Heigl is busy trying to reconnect with the boyfriend who bolted on her, played by Jon Bon Jovi. And it’s not her sidekick, a sous chef played with Latin flair by Sofia Vegara. No, it’s not Lea Michelle, the backup dancer for Bon Jovi’s character, Jensen, a pop star set to entertain at a huge party that night. She’s stuck in an elevator with grungy Ashton Kutcher, the NYE Ebenezer Scrooge as in Bah, Ball Drop!
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who feels compelled to sit through this despite my warnings. It is only in the holiday spirit that I refrain. Simply put, this is a disaster of a holiday movie that does not deserve compassion. Not only are its too many stories contrived and silly, but this also commits the unforgiveable sin of being just plain boring. It is a monumental waste of all the talent associated with this — including all the Marshalls. Yes, Garry has cast his sister, his cousins, and his kids behind and in front of the camera. If you don’t believe me, stick around for the end credits — if you make it that far, you might as well.
Oh, did I forget to mention to cutesy story about the two couples competing to have the firstborn baby after the New Year so they can win a cash prize? Shame on you Seth Meyers, Sarah Paulson, Jessica Beil and that guy that was in “Inglourious Basterds.”
Even as an amusing diversion amidst the stress and jangle of the holidays, I cannot in good conscience recommend “Happy New Year” to anyone. It is an utter and awful waste of time that you will never, ever get back. For a dose of truth in advertising, I suggest changing the title to “Happy Snooze Year.”