the joke, unfortunately, is on us.
the joke, unfortunately, is on us. Even though I expected little to no meat in this entree, I did hope for a sizeable helping of Cameron Diaz's comedic dazzle. She still manages to ignite her usual spark as the spunky party girl. Distinctly absent, though, are the laughs she so effortlessly generated in the wacky characters she portrayed in There's Something About Mary and In Her Shoes. It's not really her fault; the unleavened script Diaz is forced to work with here offers little more than insulting retorts of the kind most of us abandoned in junior high. Instead, we are left to marvel only at her gorgeous wardrobe.
Until now, I had never seen Ashton Kutcher in an actual film role, so I admit that I was curious to see if he had any real talent, or if he's just cute. It turns out he's just cute. Gratifyingly so, since there's little else in this movie to hold one's attention.
The story kicks off after Joy (Diaz) is jilted by her self-absorbed fiancé, and the perpetually immature Jack (Kutcher) is justifiably fired from the family business by his dad. Both seek refuge in the intoxicating revelry of Vegas, and in each other. Inevitably, they conclude the evening's inebriations by getting hitched, and then wake up the next day mutually horrified. This must represent a pretty common theme in Las Vegas. Adding to what little complexity already exists in the story, is Jack's winning bet-as an afterthought-- at the quarter slot machines. Now, not only are these two strangers married; they're rich too. Trouble is, they don't really know each other, and in a sober state they don't even seem to like each other. Enter the courtroom judge, who's fed up with all the quickie marriages and ensuing divorces, demanding that Joy and Jack live together for at least six months if they ever hope to lay their greedy hands on the money. But, you've already seen most of this in the previews. And, you can probably predict the outcome. What you didn't know until now is that much of the rest of the film is just as dull.
The second half of the film does, however, eke out a few laughs. Jack's best buddy "Hater" (Rob Corddry) is a lawyer who's never won a case. In the final courtroom scene, he finally breaks his losing streak, but not in a way we expect. Joy's girlfriend, the hard-bargaining bartender Tipper (Lake Bell), conveys some humor through her persistent scowl. Queen Latifah makes an appearance as the court-appointed marriage counselor, and Dennis Farina is refreshing as Joy's unpredictable, yet straight-faced boss.
The mystery lies in the fact that Diaz, a talented comedienne, would choose this vehicle as one of her few starring roles of the year. Maybe it was the chance to play opposite Kutcher, with whom she does share some on-screen chemistry (it's just too bad that it doesn't emerge until the end). But unless you just can't stay away from Vegas, I wouldn't worry too much about what happens there in this film.
What Happens in Vegas
Directed by Tom Vaughn. Starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. PG-13