*Warner Brothers’ “New Year’s Eve” is a movie chock full of laughter, adventure, tears and drama that will keep audiences intrigued from beginning to end.
Directed by the legendary producer and comic legend Garry Marshall, the movie boasts a massive number of stars who all eagerly signed up to work with the legendary director, and the result is spectacular.
Academy Award winner Halle Berry and rapper/actor Chris “Ludacris” Bridges join a stellar cast consisting of Michelle Pheiffer, Zac Efron, Robert DiNiro, Hilary Swank, Jon Bon Jovi, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Katherine Heigl, Sofia Vergara, Abigail Breslin, Josh Duhamel, Sara Jessica Parker, Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, and Til Scheiger. You might even glimpse a few other actors in cameo roles, including Jim Belushi, Hector Elizando, Common, Penny Marshall, Yeardly Smith, Alyssa Milano, and even “American Idol” mc Ryan Seacrest, who portrays the host for the momentous ball dropping in Times Square.
Director Marshall, who is from the Bronx, had fond memories of New Year’s Eve.
“In our family it was all about banging pots and pans and yelling out the window,” recalls Marshall. “We used to watch the ball drop in Times Square and later, as a musician, I played in some of the clubs there.
“It was terrific to relive those moments making this movie,” Marshall recalls. “But that’s what New Year’s Eve does to people; it stirs up memories. It makes you look forward and back at the same time, and think, ‘Where will I be this time next year?’”
The story follows a myriad group of characters who embark on a series of adventures in on New Year’s Eve. The characters reveal regrets, love lost and found, hard won life lessons, and the promise of new beginnings. “New Year’s Eve” has a little something for everyone—from the teen to the elderly—and as the evening grows closer to midnight, the characters learn a little something about themselves on one of the most celebrated nights of the year.
The crux of the story follows Claire (Hillary Swank) the newly promoted vice president of the Times Square Alliance, who is in charge of ensuring the celebrated ball drops at midnight on New Year’s Eve. But there’s one little problem—as thousands gather to celebrate the holiday in Times Square, the ball refuses to budge.
Lending his support to Claire is her close friend Brendan (Chris “Ludacris” Bridges), a member of the New York Police Department who shares Claire’s pressing secret that will be unveiled later that night.
“Brendan wasn’t even supposed to be working that shift, but he wanted to be there to help Claire because he knows what a big night it is for her, and what a huge responsibility,” says Bridges. “He’s there to boost her confidence if she needs it, to help smooth the way and make sure she’s 100 percent up for everything she has to do.”
Michelle Pfeiffer (who is barely recognizable in the movie—seriously!) makes a star turn as the mousy brown-haired Ingrid, who quits her humdrum job and demanding boss to fulfill a list of long unfilled New Year’s resolutions.
She enlists the help of Paul, a cocky messenger boy (played with swagger and energetic flair by Zac Ephron) who agrees to help her complete her wish list in exchange for some exclusive party tickets to the hottest party in town, the Ahern Records Masked Ball. Although the two realize they are complete opposites, they soon realize they have more in common than they care to admit.
Academy award-winning Halle Berry (who portrays nurse Aimee) joins the all-star cast opposite Stan (Robert De Niro). Stan, who is terminally ill, has one last wish—to see the ball drop at midnight in Times Square. But Stan is also suffering from delirium–he thinks Aimee is someone he lost long ago.
“Stan reflects on his life and there’s a point when he starts to hallucinate and believes Aimee is someone else, someone who was once close to him,” said Berry. “It’s a sweet and touching moment. Aimee is away from her own loved ones on New Year’s Eve and doesn’t expect it to be a joyous occasion, but she’s going to make the best of it, and tonight that means caring for her patient. I think there’s a part of her that understands what it’s like to have regrets.”
As the clock counts down to midnight, Berry dresses up in a striking pink dress for the evening. But appearances are deceiving—Berry slips into an empty hospital room to Skype her husband who is stationed in the war-torn Middle East (rapper-actor Common in a cameo role). It’s a poignant and touching scene that is a reminder of the sacrifices that military and families continue to undergo in serving their country.
Overprotective mother Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker) forbids her teenage daughter, 15-year-old Hailey (a grown up Abigail Breslin) from meeting her friends in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. But in a fit of rebellion, Hailey sneaks away and sends her mom on a frantic search. Kim finally realizes she’s holding on too tight to Hailey and must reluctantly loosen the parental reins. At the end of the evening, both mother and daughter learn something about each other and lovingly bond closer than ever.
Elise (Lea Michele of “Glee” fame) is spectacular in her first movie role—and she wows the audience with that incredible voice, as well. Elise is frantic to get to her gig as rock star Jensen’s back up singer, but is horrified when she discovers the elevator in her building is stuck between floors. She’s fenced in with a morose neighbor Randy (Ashton Kutcher). The two butt heads and spar with each other—but their awkward encounter brings surprising results.
Caterer Laura (Katherine Heigl) and rock star Jensen (Jon Bon Jovi) play former fiancés who revisit old wounds while a frisky Ava (Sofia Vergara) provides comic relief as she shamelessly flirts with Jensen.
The movie also features two frazzled couples who check into the hospital for the birth of their babies. But when they discover that the first child born in the New Year will receive a $25,000 prize, the competition is on–the couples embark on a series of crazy antics to induce labor—with hilarious results.
It’s same place, same time for Sam, (Josh Duhamel) a romantic who rushes from a friend’s wedding inConnecticut to meet a mysterious woman in New York he briefly met the year before. As he races to meet her at a designated spot at midnight, he encounters a series of comic misadventures. Will the mysterious lady show up? Only time will tell.
Festive scenes from last year’s New Year’s Eve–which draws nearly one million revelers to New York’s Times Square each year and is broadcast all over the world–were actually filmed to make the movie as authentic as possible.
Marshall recalls that despite the freezing weather, all of the actors were troopers. “They had to pile on the heavy coats and hats and then take them of, do the scene, six or seven takes, freeze, and then back into the coats. I never heard any complaints.”
Ludacris agreed. “It was freezing. But if you have a warm heart, you’ll survive the cold.”
Overall, “New Year’s Eve” is a great holiday movie. It will make you laugh, chuckle—and think, as well.
“New Year’s Eve” opens Friday.