The critically-panned New Year's Eve: A roundup of jokes

Garry Marshall's new movie may boast big names, from Robert De Niro to Katherine Heigl, but critics are laughing at the star-studded film, not with it

Critics are panning the star-studded "New Year's Eve" as being little more than a two-hour infomercial for Times Square.
(Image credit: 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)

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."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

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, "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."

Selling it

"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.)"

Deep thoughts

"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?"

Apocalypse now

"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."

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.