Last year director Garry Marshall hit upon a devilishly canny approach to the romantic comedy. A more polished refinement of Hal Needham’s experimental Cannonball Run method it called for assembling a gaggle of famous faces from across the demographic spectrum and pairing them with a shallow day-in-the-life narrative packed with gobs of gooey sentiment. A cynical strategy to be sure but one that paid handsome dividends: Valentine’s Day earned over $56 million in its opening weekend surpassing even the rosiest of forecasts. Buoyed by the success Marshall and his screenwriter Katherine Fugate hastily retreated to the bowels of Hades to apply their lucrative formula to another holiday historically steeped in romantic significance and New Year’s Eve was born.
Set in Manhattan on the last day of the year New Year’s Eve crams together a dozen or so canned scenarios into one bloated barely coherent mass of cliches. As before Marshall’s recruited an impressive ensemble of minions to do his unholy bidding including Oscar winners Hilary Swank Halle Berry and Robert De Niro the latter luxuriating in a role that didn’t require him to get out of bed. High School Musical’s Zac Efron is paired up with ‘80s icon Michelle Pfeiffer – giving teenage girls and their fathers something to bond over – while Glee’s Lea Michele meets cute with a pajama-clad Ashton Kutcher. There’s Katherine Heigl in a familiar jilted-fiance role Sarah Jessica Parker as a fretful single mom and Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as the most laid-back cop in New York. Sofia Vergara and Hector Elizondo mine for cheap laughs with thick accents – his fake and hers real – and Jessica Biel and Josh Duhamel deftly mix beauty with blandness. Fans of awful music will delight in the sounds of Jon Bon Jovi straining against type to play a relevant pop musician.
The task of interweaving the various storylines is too great for Marshall and New Year’s Eve bears the distinct scent and stain of an editing-room bloodbath with plot holes so gaping that not even the brightest of celebrity smiles can obscure them. But that’s not the point – it never was. You should know better than to expect logic from a film that portrays 24-year-old Efron and 46-year-old Parker as brother-and-sister without bothering to explain how such an apparent scientific miracle might have come to pass. Marshall wagers that by the time the ball drops and the film’s last melodramatic sequence has ended prior transgressions will be absolved and moviegoers will be content to bask in New Year's Eve's artificial glow. The gambit worked for Valentine's Day; this time he may not be so fortunate.
Ozzy Osbourne's pink-haired, 17-year-old daughter Kelly will sing on stage for the first time at the MTV Movie Awards, The Associated Press reports. Kelly will sing her cover version of Madonna's 1986 hit "Papa Don't Preach," which she recorded with members of Incubus for The Osbourne Family Album, due out June 11. The awards show, which will be hosted by Jack Black and Sarah Michelle Gellar, will take place Saturday at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and will air on MTV June 6.
Malcolm in the Middle's Jane Kaczmarek is expecting a third child with her husband, Brad Whitford. The baby is due in November. According to the AP, the couple is expected to return to their respective television shows in the fall. Whitford plays Deputy White House Chief of Staff Joshua Lyman on NBC's The West Wing.
The woman who claims she was raped by Celine Dion's husband, René Angelil, was released without bail from jail after she agreed to repay more than $550,000 to a Las Vegas casino, the AP reports. Yun Kyeong Kwon Sung, a Pasadena, Calif., resident, was accused of signing four markers promising to pay the casino in a case in 2001.
DreamWorks Pictures is developing a fully animated, computer-generated feature based on writers Cyrus Voris and Ethan Reiff's original pitch, Master P: Kung Fu Panda. The story is about a gang of snow leopard bandits that come down from the highlands to invade a bamboo jungle in China, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Kevin Spacey is developing a remake of the Norwegian drama Elling, about two misfits who become friends after a two-year stint in a state home, Variety reports. The original film was nominated for the foreign-language Oscar this year. Spacey does not plan to star in the English-language remake.
Stephen Chiau, who starred in and directed the Asian blockbuster Shaolin Soccer, is planning an action/comedy for the international market. Chiau told Reuters in a recent interview that the film would be based on a story that happened in Hong Kong in the 1940s and '50s and that a script was in the works.
John Leguizamo will make his directorial debut with the HBO drama Infamous, about a young Latino boxer, Variety reports. Leguizamo will co-direct the film with Enrique Shadyac, as well as executive produce and star in the pic. Shooting begins in Gotham Aug. 5.
Actor/comedian Jamie Foxx will star as former Washington Mayor Marion Barry in the HBO biopic Livin' for the City: The Marion Barry Story. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the pic will be executive produced by Chris Rock, who poked fun at Barry in his 1996 HBO stand-up special Bring the Pain.
Following the abrupt departure of longtime chief Michael Greene last month, the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which organizes the Grammys, is setting up a committee to find a new president, Variety reports. Jive Records West Coast chief Neil Portnow is rumored to be a frontrunner for the position.
California rockers Alien Ant Farm have cut short their European tour and canceled all shows in the United States through September following a bus crash last week in Spain in which their driver was killed, the AP reports. Frontman Dryden Mitchell suffered a broken vertebra in the accident, while guitarist Terry Corso broke his ankle.