New Year's Eve, the ensemble rom com from director Garry Marshall (Valentine's Day), hits theaters Friday, and it's not getting much love from critics. Indeed, the vast majority are panning the film, which stars a laundry list of talent, including Robert De Niro, Hilary Swank, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Ashton Kutcher, and Sarah Jessica Parker. The movie features a number of interwoven melodramas all taking place, as the title suggests, on the last night of the year. Critics have ripped the movie's jokes as corny and unfunny; the scathing reviews themselves, however, are pretty amusing. Here, a sampling:
The mighty have fallen
"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?" asks Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times. "And if you don't think there's dialogue about getting her ball to drop, you're barking up the wrong movie."
The good old days
"The sanitized setting and sappy script are so littered with cardboard characters and crass product placements that you'll mourn for the muggers and porno theaters that De Niro cursed in Taxi Driver," says Joe Williams at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
How bad is it?
"It is so bad," says Peter Sobczynski at Filmcritic.com, "that no less a figure than Ryan Seacrest, playing himself, gets to deliver the closest thing to a profound thought when, after some hiccup, he poignantly remarks that this never happened to Dick Clark. Sadly, truer words were never spoken."
"New Year's Eve is a depressing two-hour infomercial pitching Times Square as the only place in the universe you want to be when the ball drops at midnight on Dec. 31," says Stephen Holden in The New York Times. "(Believe me, it's not.)"
"What can be said about a movie that is nice and awful?" ponders Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle. "That has a warm spirit and is 100 percent phony? That has all the stars in the galaxy and all the appeal of rotting fish?"
"Mayans might have predicted the end of the world in 2012, but could they have known that the countdown to eternal hellfire would begin with Garry Marshall's New Year's Eve?" asks Melissa Anderson in The Village Voice. The movie is "so excruciating that it makes its predecessor, Valentine's Day, seem like Nashville in comparison."
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How the South's ugly racial history is haunting ObamaCare
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- What if Leo Strauss was right?
- Stop making fun of philosophy and read some philosophy
- The real story behind Deliver Us From Evil
- If Democrats abandon immigration reform after Tuesday's likely loss, they will turn 2016 into a debacle
- Beware of Splenda: The backlash against artificial sugars
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- How science can help you survive scary movies
- The 7 best Halloween-themed editorial cartoons
Subscribe to the Week