New Year’s Eve (2011)

Rated PG-13. Our Ratings: V -1; L -4; S/N -2. Running time: 1 hour 58 min.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Hillary Swank as Claire has called in Hector Elizondo’s Kinsky to fix the Stuck Times Square New Year’s Eve ball.
© 2011 Warner Brothers

Boasting a screen full of stars, Gary Marshall’s latest work is similar to a Robert Altman film (remember Nashville ?) with its large ensemble cast, but lacking the depth of any of the great master’s films. Hilary Swank is in charge of operations involving the dropping of the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve when it becomes stuck during a daytime trial run. As she struggles to overcome obstacles, a number of other stories—of a broken romance, the revival of hope, a dying man’s last wish, and a wife with her Army husband far off in the Middle East—are interwoven.

Enjoyable if you are not expecting a whole lot, the film does have a touching moment. The latter consists of a brief scene in which Halle Berry, as a night nurse, keeps her rendezvous via Skype with her soldier husband stationed in the Middle East. She is also involved in the moment of grace in which Harry, a dying patient played by Robert De Niro, is granted his last wish. It’s a bit silly—he wants to see the ball drop on Times Square live, not just on TV—so the nurse looks the other way while his daughter violates hospital rules by wheeling him to the roof where there the event can be seen. Two other characters keep a promise made a year earlier to meet again, the incident similar to the climax of 1957’s An Affair to Remember. This could become the movie to watch just prior to a New Year’s Eve, and then maybe not.

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