New Year's Eve has an ensemble cast of some of the biggest names in Hollywood — Halle Berry, Robert De Niro, Hilary Swank and Sarah Jessica Parker, to name a few. But boy, does this movie suck. In 118 long minutes, New Yorkers of various ages and backgrounds rethink their relationships with family, partners and themselves as one year becomes another.
It's like the romantic comedy version of Crash, except painfully cloying, inarticulate and likely to make you less tolerant of your fellow man.
After a brush with death, Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) quits her thankless job and hires a messenger (Zac Efron) to help her accomplish last year's New Year's resolutions in a single day. Nurse Aimee (Halle Berry) cares for Stan (Robert De Niro), a dying man who regrets walking out on his family. Tess (Jessica Biel) and Griffin (Seth Meyers) prepare for the birth of their first child. Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker), the divorced mother of 15-year-old Hailey (Abigail Breslin), worries so much about her daughter's New Year's plans and burgeoning love life that she neglects her own. Two neighbors, Randy (Ashton Kutcher) and Elise (Lea Michele), bicker and flirt when they get stuck in their apartment building's elevator.
Many other people who used to be way more famous than they are now — hello, Jon Bon Jovi! — are also thrown into the mix. In fact, I spent most of the movie trying to figure out why certain people looked so familiar. So here you go. That's Ludacris playing the wise cop and most certainly not acting a fool. Kim's daughter is the same girl as the little girl from Little Miss Sunshine, just all grown up now. And Alyssa Milano's still acting. I'll buy you popcorn if you can find her.
I don't recommend New Year's Eve if you have other options, like hanging out with real people or cleaning your bathroom. I'm not a huge fan of the holidays, in general, not to mention that I have the alcohol tolerance of a hamster. But I still believe in the promise of a new year, if not in New's Year's Eve partying (or movies about it). No other time of the year comes with as much acceptance of the past and hope for the future.
Relationships with our family, friends and romantic partners bring both the most joy and the most stress into our lives. I know this. So how can it be that in at least a decade of making New Year's resolutions, I've never made any goals pertaining to love? In hindsight, I can think of many that could have made a difference. Like saying "I love you" more or bolstering friendships that have begun to erode. Or forgiving people I've loved — and myself — when relationships didn't work out.
Perhaps we could all benefit from spending the last days of 2011 a bit like the characters in New Year's Eve. But let's be realistic: These epiphanies won't happen overnight. Think about the relationships you valued most in the last year. What made them strong, and how might you make them stronger? What did you learn from bad dates, relationship troubles and hurt feelings? How do you want to spend next New Year's Eve?
What love and relationship resolutions would you make for 2012?