New Year's Eve

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
New Year's Eve Movie Poster Image
Shallow, star-studded romcom has some drinking, swearing.
  • PG-13
  • 2011
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 25 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The many characters in the film demonstrate hope, optimism, forgiveness, and -- most of all -- love.

Positive Role Models

Everybody here is striving to be the best person they can be. It's certainly positive, though few of them come across as believable characters.


One character slaps another in a long-planned but ultimately unsatisfying retaliation.


Many romantic kisses at midnight as the new year arrives, as well as one somewhat graphic proposition for sex with two willing women that a man turns down.


Some swearing, including "ass," "s--t," "damn," "hell," "oh my God" (as an exclamation), and one loud "f--k" as a woman struggles to give birth.


Much of the movie takes place in Times Square, with characters surrounded by enormous billboards for every product imaginable, including Toshiba (which sponsors the square's New Year's Eve ball), Nivea, and Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows (another movie released by New Year's Eve distributor) Warner Bros. Also Moet champagne.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Several scenes feature people drinking to ring in the New Year, though hardly anyone seems drunk, rowdy, or out of control.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that New Year's Eve is a star-studded romcom that's heavy on familiar faces (including Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Zac Efron, Michelle Pfeiffer, Robert De Niro, and many more) and short on depth. It follows several interconnected storylines as people try to make amends for the past year and ring in the new one; the stories are simplistic and saccharine, and though the messages are well meant and everyone's striving to be a good person, there aren't many believable role models. There's plenty of kissing and romance, plus some drinking and swearing (including "s--t" and one memorable "f--k"), and tons of enormous billboards touting products in Times Square.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJoe T. April 30, 2017

Ok for a 12+

I think this movie is recommended for a 12 and up only
Adult Written byKathy T. April 30, 2017

Ok for a 12+

This movie is recommended for a 12 and up
Teen, 15 years old Written byJflores14 August 10, 2014

Light and romantic story of righting wrongs and finding love

This romantic and sometimes saddening drama about finding love and showing it to those who you care about. While there is some edgy content, the story is overal... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byBps 20999 October 19, 2018

What's the story?

It's New Year's Eve, and New York City is teeming with revelers and possibilities. Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer), an assistant to a record company exec (John Lithgow), is tired of being mousy and has a list of resolutions she'd like to make real, perhaps with the help an intrepid bike messenger (Zac Efron); a dying man (Robert De Niro) evaluates his life with the help of a nurse (Halle Berry); a back-up singer (Lea Michele) may not make it to the biggest gig of her life if she doesn't get out of the elevator in which she's stuck with her jaded neighbor (Ashton Kutcher); a rock star (Jon Bon Jovi) can barely keep his mind on his performance since the one who got away (Katherine Heigl) is working the same event; a single mom (Sarah Jessica Parker) is battling with her 15-year-old (Abigail Breslin), who wants to have her first kiss when the New Year's Eve ball drops; a recording mogul (Josh Duhamel) hopes to re-encounter a fleeting flirtation; and a city executive (Hilary Swank) must make sure the ball actually drops.

Is it any good?

The problem with NEW YEAR'S EVE is that it's trying to replicate Love Actually, and it fails to measure up. What made Love Actually so remarkable was an ineffable quality that allowed it to be memorable despite the pitfalls of trying to do an ensemble romantic comedy. It broke ground by doing it quite well. And the cast was just so good. And although the ingredients here are virtually the same -- big-name actors; an emotional holiday; quirky, silly storylines that converge at one spot -- the dish served up here doesn't hit the spot the same way.

Why? Not to hammer home the analogy, but it's overcooked. Aside from a few Academy Award winners and nominees (Swank, De Niro, Berry) and the respectable Parker (and to some extent, Heigl), everyone else is trying far too hard to be effortless with material that's far too thin and set-ups that are far too canned. (Director Garry Marshall had the same problem with his very similar Valentine's Day.) Expository dialogue, plot points that can be spotted towns away, and a crowded cast -- it's all here. Very few moments in the movie feel authentic; instead, it incessantly strains to evoke hope, nostalgia, and optimism. Yes, New Year's Eve is highly charged. But no one likes to feel manipulated, not even for auld lang syne.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how New Year's Eve portrays dating and romance. Ask your teens if this is what they think adult relationships are really like.

  • Did you identify with any of the characters' storylines? Which ones seemed the most believable? Which ones felt completely implausible?

  • What's the significance of New Year's Eve as a holiday? Is it important to have someone special to celebrate it with? What does the beginning of a new year mean to you?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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