Turkey’s still on the menu

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Film reviews -

AL­LOW US A brief di­ver­sion be­fore kick­ing this ap­palling film’s teeth down its cute lit­tle throat.

In 1997, a day af­ter Princess Diana met her fate, I joined a friend for lunch. “I bet they’ll get El­ton John into St Paul’s to sing bloody Can­dle in the Wind,” I said in a smug, never-hap­pen voice. Be care­ful what you joke about.

Less than two years ago,


emerg­ing from Valen­tine’s Day, I made a sim­i­larly ill-judged crack about how di­rec­tor Garry Mar­shall might cap­i­talise on its grimly in­evitable suc­cess. “They’ll prob­a­bly launch some hor­ri­ble fran­chise. We’ll get New Year’s Day, Hal­loween, Thanks­giv­ing. In a few decades’ time, blame­less pun­ters will be asked to en­dure a com­pi­la­tion of rom­coms set on Colum­bus Day or Labour Day or In­ter­na­tional Beret Day. Ha ha ha!”

We haven’t quite got there yet. But masochists bored of ram­ming screw­drivers into their reti­nas can now en­joy the sec­ond film in a cy­cle that could en­dure for cen­turies.

Once again, a thou­sand ac­tors you used to like have come to­gether to act out 500 dizzy­ingly hec­tic, numb­ingly in­sub­stan­tial ro­man­tic sub­plots. To get some sense of the level we’re work­ing at, be aware that the film fea­tures a for­eign wo­man who, for sup­posed comic ef­fect, be­gins ev­ery sec­ond line with the phrase “Eeen my coun­try . . . ” Wassa matta? You theenk that a lee­tle pa­tro­n­is­ing? Isssa New Year’s Eve. Lighten up.

Giv­ing an abysmal per­for­mance that wipes all mem­o­ries of former great­ness and kicks a some­time ge­nius into the dust­bin of shame, Robert De Niro plays a dy­ing man who wants to see Times Square on New Year’s Eve for one last time. An ex­pec­tant Jes­sica Biel longs to have the first baby of the year. Hi­lary Swank is in charge of the big ball that, to the dis­may of ev­ery other world cit­i­zen, New York­ers long to see slip down a glit­tery pole. Jean-claude Van Damme plays a lizard-be­ing who plans to un­leash a deadly virus at mid­night. (Sadly, only one of these is made up.)

No plot is prop­erly de­vel­oped. All sto­ry­lines try too hard to in­clude a 12 o’clock dead­line. It’ll prob­a­bly be a smash. Just pray the next in­stal­ment isn’t re­leased any­where near March 17th.

For shame! For shame! Robert “show me the money” De Niro

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