DVD Release Date: May 1, 2012
Theatrical Release Date: December 9, 2011
Rating: PG-13 (for language including some sexual references)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Run Time: 118 min.
Director: Garry Marshall
Actors: Hilary Swank, Michelle Pfeiffer, Zac Efron, Robert De Niro, Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, Halle Berry, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michelle, Abigail Breslin, Jon Bon Jovi, Sarah Jessica Parker, Katherine Heigl, Ludacris, Sofia Vergara

Memo to Hollywood: If you’ve been considering whether every holiday, major or otherwise, warrants its own star-studded ensemble comedy, the answer is emphatically no.

After all, no one, even if they’re on the top of Santa’s naughty list, deserves to sit through the star-studded thud that is New Year’s Eve. Even if one of your favorite actors is starring, trust me, they’re an old acquaintance practically begging to be forgotten. See, every single storyline, and there’s about a gazillion to choose from, is basically the cinematic equivalent of your Aunt Mildred’s fruitcake—inexplicably dry, dense and desperately lacking in flavor since there’s nothing but congealed candied fruit nestled inside.

For whatever reason, director Garry Marshall, the director/writer/producer practically responsible for kick-starting Julia Roberts’ career thanks to Pretty Woman, decided to even up the ante from Valentine’s Day and recruit half of Hollywood to star in this sentimental dreck. And just in case these lazy storylines don’t wow you immediately, Marshall and his partners in crime shamelessly try to generate the waterworks with every contrivance in the romantic comedy playbook.

To wit, we’ve got the guy and a girl (Ashton Kutcher, No Strings Attached, and Lea Michele, TV’s Glee) with nothing in common who still magically fall in love while stuck in an elevator together. There’s also the clueless workaholic with really bad taste in party dresses (sparkly tin foil, anyone?) who wants nothing more than for her ex-fiancé (rock star Jon Bon Jovi) to fall back in love with her before the clock strikes midnight (naturally, Katherine Heigl, Life As We Know It, is starring).

Meanwhile, Michelle Pfeiffer (whoa, remember her?) is playing a dowdy office assistant, who in a monumental twist of serendipity is suddenly tackling everything on her bucket list with Zac Efron (Charlie St. Cloud) by her side (and no, he’s not playing her son, which is nothing short of icky). Rounding things out, Robert De Niro (Limitless) is apparently showcasing his softer side by playing the cancer patient who just wants to see the ball drop in Times Square one last time (if only his nurse, played by Halle Berry, Things We Lost in the Fire, would let him temporarily vacate the premises).