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.I 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:
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.