Saturday, December 10, 2011

‘New Year’s Eve’: Assessing the performances of (almost) every star

(By Jen Chaney, Washington Post, December 9, 2011)
What happens when you make a pseudo-sequel to “Valentine’s Day” and enlist 594 (number approximate) Hollywood stars to fill out a cast large enough to form its own incorporated town?  You get “New Year’s Eve,” a rom-com that currently possesses a 6 percent positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has done very few favors for the many talented actors who signed on to participate in this monument to midnight-kiss cliches. 
In order to give all 737 (number approximate) people who appear in “New Year’s Eve” their due, I’ve stitched together comments about their performances from critics across the country. Naturally, not everyone is covered here because, even though this is the limitless Internet, there is still not enough space here to cover the 943 (number approximate) individuals who show up in this movie. But here are assessments (most not terribly kind) of a dozen key “New Year’s Eve-ers.”  You’re welcome. Now read this, then go out there, confess your love to someone, carpe diem, drink champagne and seize your dreams!

Robert De Niro and Halle Berry
“We’re subjected to the ignominious tableau of Robert De Niro — Robert De Freaking Niro — lying helplessly in a hospital bed while a nurse played by Halle Berry strokes his hand, presumably out of mutual concern for their once Oscar-winning careers.” (Ann Hornaday Washington Post)

Michelle Pfeiffer
“Pfeiffer, reliving the first part of her Catwoman role, is a drab drudge of a secretary.” (Stephen Whitty, New Jersey Star-Ledger)

“Kutcher, for instance, is playing an undefined slob who’s inexplicably attracted to the true-to-type uptight striver played by Lea Michele. But he does it with just enough charm and confidence that he becomes a beacon in the unending darkness that is most of the rest of this movie. His smile is more effective than whole storylines. He’s not doing much actual acting, but that ability to put shock paddles to the chest of a dead scene with his face is why he gets work..” (Linda Holmes, NPR)

Hilary Swank
“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, not only mocking the movie but also making an inadvertent joke about Swank’s recent, uh, sins.)

Sarah Jessica Parker
“Sarah Jessica Parker, as mom to Abigail Breslin’s restless teen, is just plain miscast: both her brother and her suitor (last act reveals) seem far too young.” (Sara Stewart, New York Post)

Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel
“Will Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel have their baby just in time to collect the hospital’s first born in 2012 prize money? Really, Seth? Really?” (Peter Travers, Rolling Stone)

Zac Efron
“Efron steals the film (petty theft at best) as the bicycle messenger Puck who makes Pfeiffer’s bucket list come true before the clock strikes 12.” (David Hiltbrand, Philadelphia Inquirer)

Jon Bon Jovi
“Mr. Bon Jovi can’t act but he offers decent performances of ‘I Can’t Turn You Loose’ and ‘Have a Little Faith in Me.’” (Stephen Holden, New York Times)

Katherine Heigl
“Katherine Heigl is a caterer at a fancy party where legendary rock star Jensen (played by Jon Bon Jovi) is performing, and this guy is her ex-boyfriend, and they clash. In other words, it’s Katherine Heigl doing a medley of her greatest hits!” (Eric D. Snider,

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