Too many stars and plots clutter ‘New Year’s Eve’

By Kira Scammell

Another year, another holiday, another holiday movie by Gary Marshall. “New Year’s Eve”

Directed by: Garry Marshall

Starring: Just about everyone in Hollywood

Grade: B-

Another year, another holiday, another holiday movie by Gary Marshall.

He directed 2010’s “Valentine’s Day,” and now he’s back with “New Year’s Eve” — another celebrity-driven film featuring multiple intertwined stories.

Unlike “Valentine’s Day,” “New Year’s Eve” doesn’t make single people feel entirely worthless. Instead, the movie focuses on second chances and changing for the better. But this is a romantic comedy, so love stories still make up more than half of the mini-plots of the movie.

The movie takes place on the last day of the year in the Big Apple and follows more than a dozen barely connected individuals who are looking for a better start to 2012.

Kim (Sarah Jessica Parker) wants a better relationship with her daughter but can’t seem to keep herself together without having a man. Randy (Ashton Kutcher) got his heart broken in college and now he’s a jaded New York Scrooge. Bro Paul (Zac Efron) scoots around the city on a moped and concerns himself mostly with finding the hottest New Year’s Eve party. While seemingly unrelated, these characters — and about 15 others — do end up intertwined enough to keep the plot together.

But that can hinder the movie. There are so many storylines and characters that it’s hard to remember what’s happening to everyone. The star-studded cast becomes more distracting than beneficial. It’s a blinding collection of “it” stars from Hollywood, constantly running in and out of the frame.

All those stars and good intentions inevitably alienate the audience by trying to cover too many New Year’s Eve conundrums. Since the movie doesn’t follow any character or story long enough for the audience to develop a relationship, it creates a hodgepodge of stories the audience is barely attached to.

Almost all of the situations feel manufactured for the movie. Does anyone really think the average guy is going to follow the girl of his dreams — with whom he spent one day trapped in an elevator — to Times Square in his pajama pants? It’s just not a feasible scenario and makes the movie hard to relate to.

There is too much to absorb in a single sitting. For a story about New York’s glitziest night of the year, the movie just does not dazzle. If Marshall takes on another holiday, hopefully he will follow the “less is more” principle.

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