New Year’s Eve is the next installment in the converging story holiday-themed line-up, and despite serving as passable entertainment in a niche that scoffs at being taken too seriously, there isn’t a lot of life left in the shtick. The story, and the inclusion of at least two of the tangential arcs, feels forced, put together because we have a few more big names willing to join in, and need something for them to do.
This time around, we find ourselves following the New Year’s Eve festivities in New York City, and what better way could there be than sitting on the shoulder of the person responsible for the making sure the ball drops? Claire (Hilary Swank) is the new VP of whatever organization runs Times Square, and she’s running the show. Naturally, a hiccup leaves the ball stuck on its way up, and she has to scramble.
We also run through the strange day with Katherine Heigl, who is catering the biggest party of the night with the help of her sous chef, Sofia Vergara. Coincidentally, the big attraction of this shindig is that a certain rock star sensation (played by Jon Bon Jovi) will be there, and he just happens to be Heigl’s ex.
Meanwhile, back at the hospital, Jessica Biel and Seth Meyers are in a race to have a hospital’s first baby of the year, because that apparently comes with a $25,000 cash prize. Up a few floors, Robert De Niro is mere hours away from dying of cancer, and all he wants is to go up to the roof, because the hospital has a great view of Times Square.
These and many other stories spin us a tale through New Year’s Eve, and two of its biggest events. Some of them are central, while others are mere tangents based on the family and friends of those playing the bigger roles, but they all have their angle on the overall themes.
Fans of this particular niche will probably have a fair enough time, but the real fun has wound down on this gag, and much of the viewing time is going to spent trying to figure out who is connected to who… and it isn’t tricky. There are some laughs, and the writing at least serves well enough that we get some better-than-average moments, but this one takes syrupy to new levels, and somehow manages to juggle a lot of balls while remaining mostly boring.
Still, there’s little doubt that for an average, entertaining ride in the genre, this one serves a purpose, as long as you know what you’re getting into.
The Blu-Ray release is a single-disc offering, with a Blu-Ray/DVD double-sided disc. The audio and video quality are pretty much par for the course. It looks quite good, with only a few small flaws that shouldn’t mean anything to anyone. It isn’t exactly the sort of feature that lends itself to the highest possible quality video in any case.
The special features have a few mildly interesting offerings, depending on your interest in the film. There are a few deleted scenes, which amount to very little in terms of the overall effect of the film, and how could they really? You get a gag reel, and a couple of quick featurettes. One focuses on Times Square, the other on the stars, who spill their New Year’s secrets.
Finally, you get a commentary track by director Garry Marshall, and while I’m actually something of a fan of Marshall in general, this is a tricky commentary track to pass judgment on. On the one hand, if you’re a real fan of this film, it’s probably going to be something you want to check out. On the other hand, in more generally “cinephile” terms, it would be hard to point to a less interesting commentary, of a film that had less to offer the medium.
Relive the most romantic night of the year with “New Year’s Eve,” arriving onto Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Download on May 1st from Warner Home Entertainment Group. “New Year’s Eve” celebrates love, hope, forgiveness, second chances and fresh starts with intertwining stories told amidst the pulse and promise of New York City on the most dazzling night of the year.
Director and producer Garry Marshall (“Valentine’s Day,””Pretty Woman”) is joined by an all-star ensemble cast including Academy Award® winner Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball”); Jessica Biel (“Valentine’s Day”); Jon Bon Jovi (“Pay It Forward”); Academy Award® nominee Abigail Breslin (“Little Miss Sunshine”); Chris “Ludacris” Bridges (“Fast Five”); two-time Academy Award® winner Robert De Niro (“The Godfather: Part II”); Josh Duhamel (“Transformers”); Zac Efron (“High School Musical”); Hector Elizondo (“The Princess Diaries”); Katherine Heigl (“Knocked Up”); Ashton Kutcher (“No Strings Attached”); Seth Meyers (TV’s “Saturday Night Live”); Lea Michele (TV’s “Glee”); Sarah Jessica Parker (“Sex and the City”); Academy Award® nominee Michelle Pfeiffer (“Dangerous Liasions”); Til Schweiger (“The Three Musketeers”); two-time Academy Award® winner Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby”) and Sofia Vergara (TV’s “Modern Family”).
The Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD include an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the standard definition theatrical version of the film, which allows consumers to download the film to a PC or Mac plus instantly stream it from a digital cloud to many computers, tablets or smartphones.
Ingrid (Pfeiffer) is a woman looking for her purpose in life, helped along the way by Paul (Efron). Tess (Biel) and Griffin (Meyers) are in a race against the clock to have the first baby of the New Year. Randy (Kutcher) and Elise (Michele) are trapped in an elevator, one desperate to get out and one not eager to leave. Claire (Swank) is the in charge of making sure the Times Square ball drops at midnight but she runs into a major problem.
Following the converging stories of dozens of characters, “New Year’s Eve” tells these stories and more, showcasing love, hope, excitement, sadness, joy, laughter and sorrow on the most exciting night of the year.
New Year’s Eve available on Blu-ray Combo pack, DVD and for download today!
- Commentary by director Garry Marshall
- Gag Reel
- Magic of Times Square
- New Year’s Eve Secrets of the Stars
- Jon Bon Jovi & Lea Michele Rock New Year’s Eve
- Deleted Scenes with Garry Marshall
UltraViolet Digital Copy
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