"New Year's Eve" is what happens when "Valentines Day" makes $110 million domestically and $216 million globally. It's the golden rule of Hollywood.


Why not do it again, right? All that's needed are a bunch of top tier actors willing to provide a day or two of their time, get the director back, and write a quick script and voila... a movie.


Getting Garry Marshall back was a piece of cake, after all he does have a lot of offers coming his way. The script is easy, just clone the "Valentine's Day" script and change the holiday! And the talent is never a problem because all of them can use a little extra cash. Their publicists told them "It's good to keep your face out there so people won't forget it."

Thus you get Halle Berry and Robert DeNiro playing nurse and patient; Katherine Heigl and Jon Bon Jovi playing former lovers; Hillary Swank and Ludacris as two people working on a single goal; Jessica Biel, Seth Meyers, Sarah Paulson and Til Schweiger playing competing couples; Michelle Pfeiffer and Zac Efron playing make-a-wish; Sarah Jessica Parker and Abigail Breslin playing mother and daughter; and Ashton Kutcher and Lea Michele as two people trapped in an elevator.


The mission: get all those characters at or near the same place by the end of the movie. That place is New York's Time Square.


Seven different stories that somehow are interrelated, sort of. DeNiro is Stan, a guy on his death bed who only wants to see the ball drop. Berry is his nurse who is following doctors orders not to take him up to the hospital roof to watch the drop. Her purpose is to witness his death. Pfeiffer is Ingrid a former secretary for a record company who has lived a sheltered life of caution. Now she decides to throw caution to the wind with the help of a bike messenger named Paul (Efron) who tries to help her fulfill her resolutions list so he can score her extra tickets to a big party.


Swank is the lady in charge the ball drop but faces a crisis when the ball short circuits on it's way up the pole. Her friend Brendan (Ludacris) is a New York cop who helps facilitate her needs while Hector Elizondo plays the electrician called to fix the problem.

Biel, Meyers, Paulson and Schweiger play two couples racing to see who can win the $25,000 prize for having the first baby of the year.


Breslin is Hailey, a girl looking forward to her first kiss at Times Square, but first needs to get around her mother's (Parker) protective ways.


The chef (Heigl) for the aforementioned big party learns her former beau (Bon Jovi) is the talent hired talent for the party. He's trying to woo her back after leaving her at the alter the previous year.


Randy (Kutcher) and Elise (Michele) get stuck in their building's elevator. They have totally differnt personalities in that she likes the holidays and he hates them.


Sprinkle in a few cameos by Penny Marshall, Matthew Broderick, James Belushi, and John Lithgow and you have the movie... with a few flaws. The biggest flaw is the miscasting of Ludacris who is totally unbelievable and stiff. DeNiro seems like he's sleepwalking, Heigl who has worn out her ain't-I-cute routine and even Breslin in her worse role ever.


The stories are trite and mundane. The humor falls like a ton of bricks and misses everything. (I think I chuckled once.) And at the end there isn't even an inkling of a desire to say "Aaw".


"New Year's Eve" lacks any kind of imagination and is merely a gathering of stars to collect various paychecks. yet, it's probably going to make enough money for another holiday movie.   -- GEOFF BURTON