Morphing Into Hilary Swank on New Year’s Eve

And now a movie review from Lori Raimondo. More in a moment about why she is supremely well qualified to assess “New Year’s Eve,” the new Garry Marshall film with a cast almost as sprawling as the crowd in Times Square — and why this may be one of the, um, nicest reviews that “New Year’s Eve” is going to get.

She gave it a thumbs up.

“I thought it was obviously star-studded,” she said. “I thought it was fun and feel-good. I laughed. It was a lighthearted romantic comedy. It was hard for me because it was Times Square and I kept looking to see how real was it.”

Ah, reality. It intruded, as it so often does. Other critics may say about “New Year’s Eve’’ what some said about Mr. Marshall’s 2010 film “Valentine’s Day,” that it was neither terribly romantic nor much of a comedy. But Ms. Raimondo is a vice president of the Times Square Alliance, whose job is to oversee the show on New Year’s Eve. In the movie, the character played by Hilary Swank is a vice president of the Times Square Alliance whose job is to oversee — well, you can finish that sentence yourself.

As. Ms. Raimondo indicated, “New Year’s Eve” has a big ensemble cast — so big that some moviegoers might say, “I can’t believe that many actors had to make a mortgage payment at the same time.” Even Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg puts in an appearance.

There is a lot to keep up with: Party scenes. Crowd Scenes. A wedding in a woodsy place, maybe Connecticut or somewhere upstate. The Myrtle Avenue subway station has a close-up, and there is a boy-meets-girl-in-an-elevator subplot.

That has been known to happen in New York, and there are other only-in-New-York touches. Ms. Swank’s character is afraid of heights, just like Ms. Raimondo, who said the screenwriter Katherine Fugate trailed her on New Year’s Eve 2009 and thought that was funny. But no, Ms. Raimondo has never been carried up the metal stairs to a rooftop by a police officer, the way Ms. Swank was.

Ms. Swank’s character reports to the president of the Times Square Alliance, just like Ms. Raimondo. But Ms. Raimondo said that the real-life president, Tim Tompkins, does not look much like the one in the movie, played by Matthew Broderick.

“Same hair color,” Ms. Raimondo said. But he doesn’t usually travel by stretch limousine, as in the movie. “He’s on foot,” she said.

Ms. Swank’s character issues orders about how to throw the confetti off 1 Times Square, the building between Broadway and Seventh Avenue where the ball falls — no confetti canons there. Ms. Raimondo explained, “You can’t just throw it over the side, you have to make it magical.” That is pretty much what Ms. Swank says put it in the movie.

And — spoiler alert — when Ms. Fugate was following Ms. Raimondo, Ms. Raimondo’s father had recently been given a diagnosis of lung cancer. Her father died in January 2011. He was 80.

Ms. Raimondo said Ms. Swank had captured her enthusiasm for her job. So how are Ms. Raimondo’s teeth?

“Not as nice as hers,” she said, laughing. “I have this brief, tiny cameo. She was like, ‘Smile,’ and I was like, ‘I can’t compete with that smile.’ And her hair is much nicer. That’s one thing. New Year’s Eve, I look tired and cold and windblown. I walking around in a coat that looks like a sleeping bag. She looked much more put together.”

Ms. Raimondo said all this by cellphone from Los Angeles, where she had attended the premiere of “New Year’s Eve” on Monday night.

“I was more nervous about going down that red carpet than I was about doing New Year’s Eve. On New Year’s Eve, I don’t worry so much about what I’m going to wear.”

What did she wear to the premiere? “A green dress,” she said. “It was Nicole Miller. I don’t know how to describe things like that.”

Ms. Raimondo had a moment with her doppelgänger on the red carpet.

“I was standing by the limousines” when Ms. Swank arrived, she said. “I was like, ‘Hi, hey, remember me.’ She was like, ‘Oh, yes.’ I felt like talking to some girlfriend. She seemed normal.”

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