It’s been a while since our last Diary of a Bad Movie. Blame it on my lack of cable in State College. In Dallas, I could choose, on demand, from a list of nauseating mediocrity. I’m not so lucky in the east.
Thankfully being home for the holidays has allowed me to catch up with a true stinkbomb of a film, New Year’s Eve, on New Year’s Eve nonetheless.
Going into the movie, other than knowing it will not be any good, I know Seth Meyers is in it. All I know about Seth Meyers, as my dad reminds me, is that he is not even enough of a screen presence to be featured in Saturday Night Live skits. And he is in this movie. This movie.
This movie, of course, contains a jumble of characters, like the regrettable Valentine’s Day, whose plots and thus lives are somehow intertwined and interrelated. Yes just like the world. In the same way the actions of a rice farmer in Japan extends to sales of wheat futures in the United States or something, the pain of Ashton Kutcher being a hipster will lead to Jessica Biel giving birth to a baby faster. Yes this math does compute in the mind of a studio exec.
Selecting from On Demand: It turns out this movie is one hour and 58 minutes long. A test of endurance. I’ll see if I can get through. Here we go…
9:36 – Katherine Heigl is in this movie. Of course she is.
9:38 – The voice played over the beginning title promises magic. I can’t recognize the voice. It might be Drew Barrymore. I don’t think it is Penn. Or Teller.
9:39 – Hilary Swank is in charge of dropping the ball on New Year’s Eve.
9:40 – A guy who likes like a cross between Colin Farrell and Jeremy Renner appears as a bike delivery guy. I can’t tell the actor.
9:41 – Seth Meyers sighting! He is an expecting father. A hospital is offering 25 G’s to the first family that gives birth. And an actress just said “hoo-hah.” Get it, you guys? Code words for private parts are always a riot, says studio exec.
Meyers is married to Jessica Biel, and he needs the money to pay off a student loan. In real life Meyers did attend Harvard, so he’s going to have some serious loans to be paying.
9:42 – To confirm: Ashton Kutcher is in this movie, continuing his streak of appearing as an under/unemployed artisan in every bad movie made since 2001. He plans on doing nothing on this New Year’s Eve because doing something would actually make his character interesting. When told his friend will call him back, he says to not do it, to save his minutes. Doesn’t he know smart phone to smart phone is UNLIMITED?
9:44 – Sooooo many characters. This is exhausting already. Here’s a quick run through of the plots introduced already: a couple has just gotten married, that couple’s friend, Josh Duhamel, met someone on NYE last year and they bring it up and he says there is no WAY he’ll see her (or him?) again. Kutcher is a louse. The baby contest is going on. A clumsy woman, a surprisingly un-catwoman-like Michelle Pfeifer, has stumbled into the trash. Katherine Heigl is playing Katherine Heigl. And Hilary Swank has to drop that ball. I think I’ve only missed four or five other plot points.
9:46 – A guy is playing his guitar on the couch. “Jon Bon Jovi?” asks my dad. Yep, dad is right. Kudos to him to sitting through this movie while reading. Of the stars presented so far, he says: “I’ve seen a lot on the B-list. There isn’t one on the A-list.”
9:47 – Bon Jovi, playing a singer named Jensen, enters the kitchen of a restaurant where Katherine Heigl awaits. She has warned him not to come. She slaps him. Just like an episode of “Chopped,” or “Grey’s Anatomy.”
9:49 – Ashton Kutcher’s buddy, the Jeremy Renner/Colin Farrell hybrid, who has promised to call him back and waste all of his precious phone minutes, is trying to secure tickets to a super exclusive party.
9:49 – Here are the tweens! Yep, fill in those demographics. This young tween might be getting her first kiss tonight. But I won’t give her too much trouble. Her mom in this movie is Sarah Jessica Parker (a dance instructor?), a devastating burden for anyone to deal with.
9:51 – Josh Duhamel is traveling to New York, and doesn’t know how to get there even though he is supposedly going to the City to give a speech for his job, meaning he doesn’t know how to travel to the city in which he is employed. He uses his GPS and it is confusing New York with New Brunswick and New Haven, and he crashes his car into a sign. The air bag explodes, first on the passenger side and second on the driver’s side because that’s funny. FYI, it costs like $5K just to replace those bags.
9:53 – Diversity check: Ludacris has entered the movie as a security guard of sorts for Hilary Swank, the NYE crystal ball dropper. And in another scene in which Heigl slaps Bon Jovi, we meet two fawning, thick-accented Hispanic friends (one of whom is Sofia Vergara). The wheels are spinning just right.
9:54 – John Lithgow, whose last acting gig was the 1-800 Collect commercials, is here as the boss of a record label.
9:56 – The plots have not ended. Robert DeNiro is hooked up to tubes, to life support. (Insert crummy joke about his career being on life support after this role riiiiiiiight – here). He is about to die. He tells the doctor who looks an awful lot like Carrie Elwes (please, please be Carrie Elwes….D’oh IMDB confirms it is not him) that all he wants to see before he dies is the NYE ball drop one more time. He has presumably already skydived, ran with the bulls in Pamplona, swum with great white sharks, eaten at McDonald’s and seen the movie Valentine’s Day.
Also, Halle Berry is the nurse. That’s another plot.
9:58 – Oh my god, you guys. Ashton Kutcher is pissed that he receives community texts from friends who say Happy New Year to everyone. The injustice.
9:58 – Lea Michelle from Glee has just stepped onto an elevator with Kutcher. Per requisite of every 80s sitcom script, the elevator is stuck.
“They’re going to hit every lame plot device possible in this movie,” says dad, “and you got two hours to see it all.”
10:00 – Meyers’ and Biel’s midnight baby plan is being thrown out by the doctor, who says no way and then says Meyers is “dangerously close to a rectal exam.” I have a feeling that’s as close as we’ll get to a joke the rest of this movie, unless we get more cryptic words for genitals. Why do I think this will happen?
10:02 – Sarah Jessica Parker won’t allow her daughter, the tween, to stay out late in Times Square. Daughter says she wants to start “living,” really living in this world. Says that SJP used to. And she’s right. I mean, Carrie Bradshaw did have a lot of stilettos, didn’t she?
10:03 – Uh-oh, Hilary Swank is afraid of heights, making this ball-dropping task a little tougher. Or will it? Doesn’t she just have to press a button? I sincerely hope she doesn’t have to climb on top of the damn thing.
10:04 – Roughneck tow truck operator tells Josh Duhamel that he can’t help him out too much because he plans to drink a 12-pack and watch porn with his wife tonight because all blue-collar employees in movies must do blue-collar things like drink 12-packs.
10:07 – Now we know why Katherine Heigl hates Bon Jovi, other than for the fact that the song “It’s My Life” sucks. He proposed to her last year and then cut off the engagement. For now, though, they are calling a truce because he has been booked to play at her restaurant.
10:09 – Bon Jovi and Heigl have first “serious” conversation of the movie. You know the type. If this were Full House that slow, whimsical would be playing and Danny Tanner would be sitting down on a bed next to Deej.
Bon Jovi wants her to come on tour with him. She says I’ve lived your life long enough, meaning she has lived on a prayer, possibly the “Our Father.” Yes, it is her life (last Bon Jovi song joke, I swear).
10:12 – The boy interested in SJP’s tween daughter tries to convince her to let the girl go out. He can’t. Says SJP fights dirty. Matthew Broderick is shaking his head somewhere.
10:13 – All right, here’s a plot point I have so far neglected. Michelle Pfeifer has created some weird sort of bucket list/resolutions in which she wants to do things like visit Bali in one day and has promised the bike messenger Colin Farrell/Jeremy Renner guy to have two tickets to a super awesome party.
10:15 – Jessica Biel is eating anchovies in hopes of inducing labor. Look, I know this movie sucks and doesn’t deserve to be looked into seriously but what a stupid, stupid thing to do. We shouldn’t celebrate a woman for trying to have her baby really quickly, possibly endangering the child’s life.
10:17 – SJP’s daughter claims her mom is a bitch because she has no man in her life. You mean Sarah Jessica Parker is playing a single, urban woman in a Hollywood production?
10:19 – DeNiro reminds the nurse, Halle Berry, he MUST stay alive until midnight. I hope she doesn’t tell him that Dick Clark has been dead for a few years and Ryan Seacrest has taken his place for the NYE countdown.
10:20 – SJP’s tween daughter, Haley, sneaks out. When SJP discovers this, she says, to herself, “I fought soooo hard for custody.”
10:22 – A song with a chorus of“It’s a New Year” tailor-made for this movie begins playing in the background. Probably by Bon Jovi.
10:23 – OK, what’s so hard about dropping a damn ball? It has dropped every year for Lord knows how long. If it was actually tough and worthy of being a plot in a movie, even in a movie that sucks, someone surely would have devised a way to create a crystal ball that has no problems dropping from the sky.
10:25 – My dad and I are trying to figure out who is playing the bike messenger, the guy who seems a cross between Collin Farrell and Jeremy Renner. We settle on the actor who looks like Conner Teahan…Zac Efron.
10:28 – Jessica Biel has entered labor…too early. Those anchovies.
10:29 – Halle Berry says that Robert DeNiro is her hot date. He is barely conscious, meaning he is still a better date than Ashton Kutcher, who is, yes, still stuck in the elevator with Lea Michelle. Quiz question: Which cliché ending will happen between Michelle and Kutcher? Will the elevator become unstuck right at midnight, or will they fall in love and decide to just stay inside the elevator even as midnight comes?
10:32 – This. Is. Exhausting. And Penny Marshall has just entered the movie, ladies and gentlemen. There will now be a plot involving Laverne (or was she Shirley?).
10:35 – Diversity check: A man with a Russian accent has been hired to fix this malfunctioning crystal ball. He probably smokes. My readers who have seen the excellent Thank You For Smoking know that the only characters who smoke skags in movies these days are RAV’s: Russians, Arabs and Villians.
10:35 – The plots that we have already forgotten are now starting to weave together. This strange, likely smelly Russian man has to fix the crystal ball or DeNiro will be pissed off when he dies. Lea Michelle was a backup singer who was meant to sing in Bon Jovi aka Jensen’s band. After that I’m lost.
10:39 – Josh Duhamel is hitching a ride with a nice fella to New York City. He says he won’t find his mystery lady. The nice fella says he must, that this is serendipity. Sorry bro, Serendipity is already a movie.
10:40 – More plot connections. Conner Teahan/Zac Efron is the brother of Sarah Jessica Parker. SJP has contacted him to see if her daughter has called him.
Intermission 10:43 – I’m calling it quits for the night. Holy cow this is tough. I’ll pick up on the afternoon of the real New Year’s Eve. I’ll close for now with commentary from my dad, who is reading Michael Lewis’ The Big Short right now: This guy made CDO’s and all these complicated concepts more interesting and more understandable than that crap.”
5:02 – I’m back! Back to the pregnancy pact or whatever it is. A male nurse just used the word “va-jay-jay.” Why oh why did I turn this movie back on?
5:04 – Bon Jovi, aka Jensen, has a song playing, about having a little faith. The music is transposed over all the scenes, the elevator, the hospital bed, to the guy searching for the girl he doesn’t know the name of and of course, right in the face of Katherine Heigl. I have faith that one hour from now I can forget I ever did this.
5:06 – Robert DeNiro is now confusing nurse Halle Berry with his daughter or wife. I don’t think it matters.
5:08 – Resolution list now involves Michelle Pfieffer hanging from a cable on the stage of a broadway play. It is very typical for a delivery boy to have access to stages of broadway theatres.
5:09 – Lea Michelle has now convinced Ashton Kutcher to have a faux NYE party on their elevator with her. The cover is $80. There are no free champagne flutes.
5:11 – Which cliché did you choose earlier for the elevator couple? Hopefully option two, which is closer to what happens. The elevator is fixed, right as Kutcher and Michelle are about kiss. Kutcher lets her leave but based on the awkward three minutes of total conversation they have shared in the eight hours they were trapped I’m sure she won’t be able to wait to reunite with him.
5:12 – Turns out Lea Michelle forgot something. A woman, forgetting something, so they can meet up again, magically… in a movie? Naaaaah.
5:13 – Is it just me, or have birthing scenes become more commonplace since Knocked Up? I don’t remember any births before then, aside from the movie Hook and it wasn’t really a birth scene as much as little Jacky being propped in front of Robin Williams like he had just been released by a stork.
5:15 – Diversity check: Katherine Heigl now has an Indian assistant we are introduced to. He is not played Aasif Mandvi, which would possibly enhance the value of this movie.
5:16 – Holy hell! You know how I made that Matthew Broderick joke earlier? He’s in the movie. In stomach-turning fashion, his character is named Mr. Buellerton.
5:18 – The plots are starting to come together. Bon Jovi, who plays Jensen the rock star, is late to his show at the ball dropping. He is late because he loves Kathy Heigl, maybe. His backup singer, Lea Michelle, is also late because of the elevator fiasco. She has now kissed Ashton Kutcher, who is going to stick around and watch – if the ball drops. It might not drop because Hilary Swank is panicking, and if the ball doesn’t drop then Robert DeNiro will die a very sad man, presumably as sad as someone who signed on the dotted line to appear in this movie without reading the script beforehand.
5:20 – So to sum up, this little world revolves around this tiny dropping ball, the crystal ball that New Yorkers would prefer to stay millions of miles from from on NYE. I’m serious. I know very few New Yorkers and they loathe the concept of crowding into Times Square with a bunch of filthy Midwesterners like myself and watching that thing fall. Yet this movie is about love for that ball and that entire scene.
5:22 – I’d feel slightly bad for just automatically classifying Ashton Kutcher as a douche, but he is the one who chooses to appear in these kinds of movies as these kinds of characters year after year after year. It is a guarantee, like spring starting every March.
5:23 – Here’s how they could have made this movie good: Instead of having this Russian repairman trying to fix the NYE crystal ball, they should have cast the guy who played Slippery Pete on that Frogger episode of Seinfeld.
5:25 – Or, they should have Hilary Swank fall in love with the wily old Russian repairman. Aye, comrade!
5:26 – In a movie of forgettable plots the most forgettable has to be the one of this stooge Josh Duhamel searching his lost NYE love. Duhamel has given a speech to his stock company because we all know how much people want to listen to speeches when they are wasted on NYE, and he is still searching for this random NYE woman as two other women offer their condos to him.
5:27 – Oh, Christ. The big twist is revealed. Hilary Swank turns out to be the daughter of Robert DeNiro. ZOMG, ZOMG, ZOMG. Seriously, what am I doing with my life?
5:29 – Halle Berry has released DeNiro to watch his beloved ball. Another nurse asks if she should look for him. Halle responds, “No, I’ve sent him away into the frigid cold on top of a large building that is quite susceptible to strong winds all so he can watch a ball. This is a perfectly reasonable decision for a professional caregiver responsible for another person’s well-being to make.”
5:30 – Military and diversity check. Halle Berry is now skyping with her black boyfriend who is overseas.
5:32 – Bon Jovi, as Jensen, announces he is canceling the tour because of Katherine Heigl. This is the third worldwide tour indefinitely postponed on behalf of Heigl. The first two were Korn’s Family Values Tour and Dr. Dre’s Up In Smoke Tour. I had tickets to both.
5:34 – I am now convinced this isn’t Robert DeNiro. It can’t be. It just can’t.
5:35 – Midnight. Lots of kissing. The ball did drop. Lea Michelle has inexplicably become the lead singer of Jensen’s band. She is singing Auld Lang Syne. “Schu” would be so proud.
5:36 – I’m not entirely cruel. Let me give two seconds of credit to this movie. The tween daughter tried to approach the boy she had a crush on and saw that he was kissing someone else. She then runs and finds her mother, SJP, in the crowd and embraces. A legitimately sincere moment.
5:40 – OK, I’m off my sentimental horse. Josh Duhamel’s search for the NYE chick has taken him to an abandoned Italian trattoria, exactly where I find all of my dates.
5:40 – What? The tween girl has already forgiven her boyfriend figure who was just kissing someone else a few minutes ago. Erase what I wrote about the legitimately sincere moment.
5:41 – Cue the life is cyclical ending. DeNiro has died. Babies are being born. Louie Armstrong is playing in the background.
5:43 – Well, it turned out Josh Duhamel’s secret NYE love was SJP. Damn. I was seriously hoping it would be the woman operating the garbage truck that scooped all the confetti off the ground in Times Square.
Intermission 2 – a quick one – only a few minutes left but I gotta help a friend real quick!
5:58 – Back! The movie ends with the narrator, who I swear is not the same narrator at the beginning because the voice sounds like a man’s, says “New Year’s Eve to me is hope – and a great party.” In that fashion, I’m off to a party that will hopefully be great, unlike this movie.
The closing credits contain more scenes, the bloopers, the outtakes that are only enjoyable after an enjoyable movie with an enjoyable cast. They are played to the music of Pink’s “Raise Your Glass,” the second-worst song of 2010. Definitely an appropriate ending.
6:02 – In these bloopers, they show an outtake of the Valentine’s Day Blu-Ray disc coming out of Jessica Biel’s womb. The universe has just collapsed on itself.
Thanks for reading!