A couple of years ago, the success of the Valentine’s Day film, She’s Just Not That Into You spawned the new romantic dramedy subgenre, The All-Star Clusterfuck Rom-Com, the unofficial sequel of which was last year’s Valentine’s Day. Later this year, another iteration of these movies is set to come out, New Year’s Day, which will star a massive collection of A- and B-list talent, each of whom will do two days of lazy, half-assed film in New York. Garry Marshall, who is directing New Year’s Day, will then take each of the 10 different subplots and edit them into a series of tenuously related shitty vignettes all revolving around New Year’s Eve.
Obviously, with as many stars as these movies have, and with as many subplots that are involved, it’s impossible to flesh out any of the characters or the storylines, so there’s a great deal of typecasting involved. There needs to be an instant connection with these characters because there’s no time to develop that connection, so we have a good idea of these characters’ motivations before we even see the trailer. As such, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out how all the little subplots will work themselves out. All you need to know is the name of the star, the one-sentence description of his or her character, and the setting. If you know that much, and if you’ve seen the previous two films (and Love, Actually), you can basically write the damn films yourself.
However, the casting for each of the 15 players involved has occurred over the course of the last six months or so. But, if you spend a few hours tracking down all of the available press releases from the various trade news sites, it becomes very easy to put the entire puzzle together. It’s like one of those toddler’s puzzles with 15 very large, clearly marked pieces. It’s screen writing for dummies.
That’s what I’ve done here. I’ve assembled the puzzle, drew some very obvious conclusions, and spliced it all together below, no more or less sloppily than Garry Marshall will. I am certain that I’m accurate on at least 90 percent of the subplots, so I suppose — speculative though it may be — spoiler warnings are in order.
This, folks, is the entire plot to New Year’s Eve. Note that, to save confusion, I use only the actors’ real names instead of their character names, although most of those are available as well. Check back on December 9th, if you’d like, to confirm how completely accurate this is.
Hillary Swank: Swank plays the nominal lead in the movie. She’s in charge of the New Year’s Ball drop in Times Square. However, she’s terrified of heights, which becomes problematic when the New Year’s Eve Ball gets stuck and Swank has to overcome her fear of heights to repair it. Afterwards, she hands hosting duties off to Ryan Seacrest and excuses herself to go visit her dying father, played by Robert DeNiro.
Ryan Seacrest: Seacrest will play a version of himself, and a colleague to Swank. He’s initially jealous that Swank is in charge and he attempts to make her look bad. Swank earns his respect, however, when she repairs the Time’s Square Ball. When Swank goes to the hospital to be with her dying father, Seacrest appropriately takes over hosting duties.
Ice Cube: Ice Cube plays an NYPD officer and friend to Hillary Swank. He helps her repair the New Year’s Eve Ball, and before she goes to the hospital to see her father, he confesses his romantic interest in her.
Robert DeNiro: DeNiro is dying, and it looks like he won’t make it through the night. He’s a bitter, prideful old man. However, over the course of the evening — before his daughter shows up — he makes friends with Alyssa Milano, his nurse. At the end of the movie, he spends his last moments alive watching the ball drop with his daughter, Hillary Swank..
Seth Meyers & Jessical Biel: Meyers and Biel are in a competition with someone else to try to be the first to have a baby in the New Year, which comes with a nice cash prize. Meyers has been planning this for months, researching all of the methods needed to perfectly time the birth of their baby. However, this couple loses, but learns something valuable about themselves.
Halle Berry: A pregnant woman who is unknowingly competing with Jessica Biel to be the first to give birth in the New Year. She’s a single-parent. She’s actually pregnant with twins but doesn’t know it. When she delivers her first baby before midnight, the other couple celebrates under the belief that they will win the competition. However, she delivers her second child right after midnight, and she ends up winning the cash prize, which is great because she’s a single mom and needed the money more.
Carla Gugino: Gugino will play the doctor who delivers the babies.
Jon Bon Jovi and Katherine Heigl: Bon Jovi, appropriately, plays a musician scheduled to play in Times Square at midnight. However, he runs into an old girlfriend, Katherine Heigl, who is catering an event at the recording studio. They have a brief moment in which they reconnect, but circumstances pull them apart. She returns to catering, and he plays his Times Square show. However, after the show, Jon Bon Jovi shows up at the recording studio, where Katherine Heigl is cleaning up, and he professes his love for her.
Lea Michelle & Ashton Kutcher: Lea Michelle plays one of Jon Bon Jovi’s back-up singers. Ashton Kutcher plays a friend to Jon Bon Jovi. As they are leaving the recording studio, they get stuck in an elevator together. They initially hate one another and spend much of their time cutting each other down. That is, until they realize how well they know each other, make a connection, kiss, and accompany one another to Times Square, where Michelle does back-up duties for Jon Bon Jovi.
Michelle Pfieffer: Pfeiffer plays a bitter, put-upon secretary at the recording studio where Jon Bon Jovi is recording. However, she has a run of bad luck (she’s nearly ran over by a cab) and decides to quit her job. She enrolls the assistance of Zac Efron, who is a bike courier that routinely delivers to the studio. He helps her tackle all of her New Year’s Resolutions from the previous year before midnight. Pfieffer and Efron end up becoming good friends over the course of the evening.
Hector Elizondo: Elizondo is retired, and used to be in charge of maintaining the New Year’s Eve ball. When it malfunctions, Elizondo is called in to assist Hillary Swank. He helps to fix it, but on his way out of Times Square, he has a chance encounter with Michelle Pfieffer.
The Sister’s Wedding and Times Square
Josh Duhamel: Duhamel plays a typical cad, who reluctantly makes time to go to the wedding of his sister, Sienna Miller, in New Orleans, although he hopes to make it back in time for a debauched New Year’s Eve blast in New York. Unfortunately, his return flight is delayed, and after spending some time with a lovely family on the plane, Duhamel puts his priorities back in order. He decides, when he returns to New York, to meets up with a woman he had made a date to meet at a special place last New Year’s Eve. The identity of that woman is meant to be a secret until the last moment, but by process of elimination, it has to be …
Sarah Jessica Parker: Recently divorced, Sarah Jessica Parker has a teenage daughter, Abigail Breslin, who doesn’t want to spend New Year’s Eve with her, which makes Sarah Jessica Parker sad. Breslin sneaks away, and Sarah Jessica Parker follows her to Times Square (more below). Eventually, she lets Breslin go and hang out with her friends and decides that she might as well see if that guy with whom she made a date the previous New Year’s Eve actually shows up at their predesignated spot. He does. And he’s Josh Duhamel. Awwww.
Abigail Breslin: Breslin has no intention of spending New Year’s Eve with her mother because she wants to sneak off to Time’s Square to meet a boy (the boy, to my knowledge, has not been cast). She sneaks off, but Sarah Jessica Parker sneakily trailer her. Poor Abigail Breslin finally makes it to Times Square only to see that her crush is kissing another girl, at which point Sarah Jessica Parker reveals herself and comforts Breslin. But, twist, it turns out that the girl forced that kiss on Breslin’s crush, and when Breslin finds out, she ends up hanging out with the boy, after all. That’s when her Mom sneaks off to see Josh Duhamel.
The only thing I haven’t figured out yet is what song Jon Bon Jovi will play in Time’s Square.