Pretty Woman director Garry Marshall follows up his odious 2010 Valentine’s Day with another overcrowded, cliche-ridden ensemble picture about a holiday I fucking hate.
It's Dec. 31, 2011, and if you can look past all the annoying advertisements for Warner Bros’ upcoming Sherlock Holmes sequel, you’ll find a massive cast of TV talent bumping up against one another while juggling half-assed, overlapping romantic comedy tropes.
Ashton Kutcher returns, this time wearing pajamas and moping around his New York apartment building, grousing about the annual festivities until he gets stuck in an elevator with the chick from Glee. I wonder if they’ll fall in love? Meanwhile, over in Times Square we’ve got Hilary Swank straining to be visible amid all the product placement logos. She’s working with a laughably stone-faced Chris “Ludicris” Bridges on a ball-dropping ceremony plagued by technical difficulties and unfunny Ryan Seacrest cameos.
Speaking of balls dropping, Zac Efron’s still haven’t, but here he plays a plucky bike messenger hired by Michelle Pfeiffer’s former record company executive to fill out a weird bucket list that doubles as an infomercial for New York City’s Tourist Commission. (The unrecognizable Pfeiffer has finally replaced Jessica Lange as America’s foremost cautionary tale about plastic surgery gone horrifically wrong.) Somewhere in all this mess there’s also Sarah Jessica Parker running around Times Square looking for her daughter (Abigail Breslin) and Josh Duhamel is wearing a tuxedo, on his way to the Big Apple for a date with destiny, and hopefully some much-needed acting lessons.
Across town we’ve got Seth Meyers and Jessica Biel at a hospital, trying to time the birth of their child to beat Til Schweiger and Sarah Paulson, for some New Year’s baby prize money. Upstairs is an inadvertently hilarious, whorish Robert DeNiro, dying of cancer and beginning every wheezy sentence with lines like: “Back when I was a photographer in Vietnam...”
But the worst moment belongs to Jon Bon Jovi, as a regretful rock star trying to win back his ex (Katherine Heigl) and performing a Times Square rendition of “I Can’t Turn You Loose” that just might be the whitest thing I have ever seen.
As in Valentine’s Day, Marshall doesn’t spend much time with any of these so-called characters, and the tones and arcs of the separate stories never cohere into anything that makes sense. It’s like channel-surfing when there’s nothing on but crap.
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