Movie review: 'New Year's Eve' flatter than old champagne

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At 77, director Garry Marshall has forgotten more about romantic comedies than most directors will ever know.

Unfortunately, he's apparently forgotten how to make them funny, as shown in this excruciating ensemble piece that follows up Marshall's 2010 film "Valentine's Day."

A collection of subplots, not written so much as Venn-diagrammed by screenwriter Katherine Fugate, surrounds the New Year's Eve festivities in Times Square. They include: A dying man (Robert DeNiro) hoping to see the ball drop one last time; a rock star (Jon Bon Jovi) trying to atone to his jilted ex-fiancee (Katherine Heigl); a mousy record-company worker (Michelle Pfeiffer) enlisting a bike messenger (Zac Efron) to help fulfill a year's worth of resolutions before midnight; two neighbors (Ashton Kutcher and "Glee's" Lea Michele) stuck in an elevator; and a teen (Abigail Breslin) hoping to get her first kiss, if she can sneak out on her mom (Sarah Jessica Parker).

The jokes are either corny or nonexistent, and the couplings are so random as to have no chemistry at all.

The only actor who makes a lasting impression is Robert Downey Jr., who only appears in a Times Square billboard digitally added by Warner Bros. to advertise next week's "Sherlock Holmes" movie. —


'New Year's Eve'

Opens Friday, Dec. 9 at theaters everywhere; PG-13 for language including some sexual references; 117 minutes.