Tuesday, December 6, 2011

TV Ratings: 'How I Met Your Mother' Delivers Highs, American Country Awards Grow

Returning with the cast-of-thousands, multiple storyline approach they applied to Valentine's Day, Garry Marshall and screenwriter Katherine Fugate take on New Year's Eve, but this time out the result proves to be as appealing and effervescent as a flute of flat champagne.our editor recommends'New Year's Eve' Premiere Red Carpet Arrivals'New Year's Eve' Film Stills: Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Jessica Biel'New Year's Eve': Abigail Breslin Talks About Her First On-Screen Kiss (Video)'New Year's Eve' Trailer: Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Zac Efron Ring in 2012 (Video)'New Year's Eve' Second Trailer Shows Off Star Power (Video) PHOTOS: 'New Year's Eve' Premiere Red Carpet Arrivals A remarkably maudlin affair that possesses scant evidence of Marshall's trademark brisk efficiency, the trite romantic comedy may technically take place on the last night of 2011, but it feels stuck at least 30 years in the past. Despite the attempts of a sprawling all-star ensemble to lend their flimsy characters any sort of involving definition, the majority end up lost in the perpetual shuffle. While Warner Bros. could still ring in some decent numbers, the tally will likely fall well short of the $110 million enticed by Valentine's Day. VIDEO: 'New Year's Eve' Star Abigail Breslin Talks About Her First On-Screen Kiss Using a potentially intriguing p.o.v. as its jump-off point-the behind-the-scenes orchestrations leading up to the annual Times Square ball drop-the film squanders many rich possibilities as it flits indifferently from story to story and character to character. Among them: Hilary Swank as the stressed-out, newly-promoted vp of the Times Square Alliance, responsible for making sure the big countdown goes off without a hitch; Robert De Niro as a terminal cancer patient determined to take in the action down in the street; Jon Bon Jovi as a rock star and Katherine Heigl as the one he let get away who happens to be catering the big bash at which he'll be performing. Then there's Sarah Jessica Parker as a single mom having relationship problems with teenage daughter Abigail Breslin; and Lea Michele as a back-up singer who finds herself stuck in her building's stalled elevator with a jerky neighbor (Ashton Kutcher). VIDEO: 'New Year's Eve' Trailer: Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Zac Efron Ring in 2012 Elsewhere, landing with a particular thud are a pair of strained plotlines-one involving Michelle Pfeiffer as a meek, mousy office assistant who enlists the aid of bike messenger Zac Efron to help her realize a bucket list of unfulfilled resolutions. The other features Jessica Biel and Seth Meyers and Sarah Paulson and Til Schweiger as a pair of expectant couples who face off in a fierce battle to take home the hospital's $25,000 prize awarded to the first birth of the new year. They mainly succeed in inducing groans. PHOTOS: Ashton Kutcher's Career Through the Years To add to all the fun, the glittering countdown ball has gotten stuck during a run-through, much to the displeasure of Swank, not to mention Ryan Seacrest who gripes that it wouldn't have happened to Dick Clark. While on the subject of dropping the ball, in spite of Marshall's endeavors to keep them all in the air, Fulgate's cavalcade of cliched characters never come convincingly together for a common cause. VIDEO: 'New Year's Eve' Second Trailer Shows Off Star Power Ultimately, their intertwined, forced stories play out like schmaltzy Altman. Only Halle Berry manages to mine some honest gravity as a night nurse who has a poignant celebration lined up come midnight, but, like so many of the performances in the distancing, incohesive New Year's Eve, it felt like it came from a completely separate movie. Opens: Friday, December 9 (Warner Bros.) Production companies: New Line Cinema, Wayne Rice/Karz Entertainment Cast: Halle Berry, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Zac Efron, Hector Elizondo, Katherine Heigl, Ashton Kutcher, Seth Meyers, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Til Schweiger, Hilary Swank, Sofia Vergara. Director: Gary Marshall Screenwriter: Katherine Fugate Executive producers: Toby Emmerich, Samuel J. Brown, Michael Disco, Josie Rosen, Diana Pokorny Producers: Mike Karz, Wayne Rice Director of photography: Charles Minsky Production designer: Mark Friedberg Music: John Debney Costume designer: Gary Jones Editor: Michael Tronick Rating: PG-13, 118 minutes PHOTO GALLERY: View Gallery 'New Year's Eve' Premiere Red Carpet Arrivals Ashton Kutcher Jessica Biel Jon Bon Jovi Lea Michele Sarah Jessica Parker New Year's Eve

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