‘New Year’s Eve’ (2011) review: Heralding in the new year with an old story

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‘New Year’s Eve’ a slight better version of ‘Valentine’s Day’

It goes that more is sometimes less, and there’s no better example of that than “New Year’s Eve”: too many stars flashing across the screen, too many plots and subplots both intersecting and diverging randomly and too many happy coincidences for the average viewer to realistically believe. But hey, with everyone from Jessica Biel to Zac Efron, who needs a navigable plot, right?

Packing in something for everyone, “NYE” simply replays the forgettable “Valentine’s Day,” also directed by Garry Marshall and written by Katherine Fugate. The pair creates a storyline following a number of New Yorkers as they contend with the demands of the high-pressure holiday.

The film stars, among others, Sarah Jessica Parker, Josh Duhamel, Ashton Kutcher, Jessica Biel, Katherine Heigl, Zac Efron, as well as “Glee’s” Lea Michele and “Modern Family’s” Sofia Vergara.

And to no great effect on the movie, the cast list goes on and on, including story lines for Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Robert De Niro, Abigail Breslin and Michelle Pfeiffer. What’s upsetting, though, is that with all this talent just sauntering around on screen, there’s a surprisingly lack of actual acting.

“NYE’s” main point mainly rest with an old adage: Slow down, and remember what’s important.

And in case you missed that message, there’s Swank’s character to clarify matters. When the famous ball of lights grinds to a halt hours before Ryan Seacrest counts down, the newly appointed vice president of the Times Square Alliance takes a moment for televised reflection.

“NYE,” though, is slightly better than “Valentine’s Day,” though thanks more to a more likable cast than to overall acting. And with only two twists, “New Year’s Eve” is perfectly predictable. But maybe that’s OK for the holiday season. With everything else going on, not having to worry about a movie’s plot is a blessing in disguise.

Two shiny stars out of five.

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Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele are shown in a scene from the romantic comedy "New Year's Eve," a spin-off from "Valentine's Day." (Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele are shown in a scene from the romantic comedy “New Year’s Eve,” a spin-off from “Valentine’s Day.” (Photo credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)

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