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The hidden ramifications of 'New Year's Eve' all-star cast: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon at risk

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Alyssa-Milano-Kevin-Bacon

Image Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos; Sylvain Gaboury/PR PhotosI know I’m not the only person who’s ambivalent about the cast of a thousand stars that is being stuffed into Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve. Yesterday, it was announced that Alyssa Milano had signed on, joining … deep breath … Katherine Heigl, Jessica Biel, Jon Bon Jovi, Abigail Breslin, Robert De Niro, Josh Duhamel, Ashton Kutcher, Lea Michele, Sarah Jessica Parker, Michelle Pfeiffer, Til Schweiger and Sofia Vergara. I blame the sweet 2003 British comedy, Love Actually, for this recent trend, which gained momentum with last year’s Valentine’s Day (also directed by Marshall). Now, I have no real problem with Milano or any of the other performers. I have no problem with vicarious romantic thrills and heartbreak depicted by an unrealistic community of too-gorgeous people. The bone I have to pick with Mr. Marshall and his films is the irreparable damage that is being done to a game I hold dear to my heart: Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Let’s be honest, the game was never rocket science to begin with. But Valentine’s Day and New Year’s Eve are making a mockery of it. A mockery! There was a day when connecting Gonzo the Great* to Bacon in two steps took an encyclopedic knowledge of film history. (Or not.) But now, with so many stars together in one film, New Year’s Eve is just a fun-killing short-cut for movie ignoramuses. Bacon isn’t in the movie — yet! — but he’s rubbed elbows with enough of its stars that Six Degrees may now as well be called Three Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

So thanks a lot, Garry Marshall — who co-starred in A League of Their Own with Tom Hanks, who worked with Bacon in Apollo 13. Because of you, I’m resigned to playing the much less renowned Thirty-Four Degrees of Bruno Kirby. By myself. In the dark. Help me.

* Gonzo to Steve Martin in The Muppet Movie; Martin to Bacon in Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Scoop of chocolate, scoop of vanilla — don’t waste my time.