ROMANTIC COMEDY; 1hr 58min
STARRING: Katherine Heigl, Robert De Niro, Hilary Swank, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Jessica Parker
Kitchen confidential: Heigl and Bon Jovi
Never mind the big one in Times Square: there are more balls in the air and stars on the go in director Garry Marshall’s buzzfest than in a three-ring circus. In no particular order, they include: a keyed-up secretary (Michelle Pfeiffer) dashing through a to-do list with an obliging motorcycle courier (Zac Efron); a protective parent (Parker) locking horns with her antsy 15-year-old daughter (Abigail Breslin); a New Year’s Eve naysayer (Kutcher) locked in a lift with a bootylicious back-up singer (Lea Michele); a dying man (De Niro) and his nurse (Halle Berry — lucky him); a caterer (Heigl; unconvincing) jilted by, then reunited with, a rock star (Jon Bon Jovi; cruising); Ryan Seacrest as himself, hosting New York City’s biggest party of the year (overseen by a nervous Swank).
There are still more of them, but you’re getting the drift. New Year’s Eve is a Silly Season Big Picture and solid though they mostly are, the plethora of actors are its brushstrokes. Populist, escapist, romantic and predictable — especially for anyone familiar with Marshall’s Valentine’s Day — its spangly celebration of life and love takes you exactly where you’re expecting to go.