What Happens in Vegas...
Director(s): Tom Vaughan
Writer(s): Dana Fox
Reviewed by: Ian Evans on
Release Date(s)May 9, 2008 - Wide
It seems almost too easy to dream up capsule quotes for What Happens in Vegas. Without breaking a sweat, I can say stuff like “What Happens in Vegas should have stayed in Vegas”, “This movie should have folded when they had the chance” and “Paying for a bad movie is like gambling: the house always wins.”
It should have been so simple. Women have been charmed by Ashton Kutcher’s good looks since That 70’s Show and men fell in lust with Cameron Diaz in The Mask and in love with her after There’s Something About Mary. Take those two stars, add a formulaic low-level romantic comedy script, stir in some second bananas and the result should have been a passable but perhaps forgettable rom-com. Instead, we get a rom-com that should be given a pass.
The story starts off with Joy McNally, a high-strung stockbroker, getting dumped by her fiancé at a surprise party she threw for him, while at the same time, Jack Fuller, an easy-going carpenter, gets fired from a job at his father’s company. Heading off to Vegas with their best friends (Lake Bell and Rob Corddry respectively) the pair mistakenly end up in the same hotel room. Much Vegas debauchery follows and the drunken pair end up married and, after one pull of the slots, three million dollars richer.
Seeking a quickie divorce, the pair stand before a judge (Dennis Miller) who won’t divorce them until they try to make the marriage work for six months with the help of a marriage counsellor played by Queen Latifah. The odd couple pairing do their best to undermine each other in order to be awarded the lion’s share of the money. Their attempts to cohabitate are equally fraught with perils as she’s a neat freak where everything has its place and he’s a slob who’s personal goal appears to be having dirty underwear covering each square inch of his home.
In such lightweight fluff like this, it might seem possible for Kutcher and Diaz to sail by on the capital they’ve built up with audiences in the past. This movie calls in those loans and the pair don’t have the goods to pay up this time. I didn’t care one iota about them as individuals or as a couple. I found myself wishing for more screen time for second bananas Bell and Corddry. Wishing less screen time for the romantic pair in a rom-com is not a good thing. Queen Latifah currently occupies a niche where she either stars in vehicles slightly above this herself or plays second fiddle to bigger stars. If she wants to increase her Hollywood stock price, she shouldn’t be taking on roles like this in inferior films, but perhaps both she and Dennis Miller just wanted to keep their SAG health insurance current.
If you’ve lived under a rock and missed every romantic comedy of the last few decades you might not be aware that in this genre, hate often turns to love, differences become the glue that holds a couple together, personal epiphanies are experienced and someone always ends up chasing after the other person. Of course, if romantic comedies continue along the path of quality presented by What Happens in Vegas, rock dwelling real estate prices may suddenly skyrocket due to high demand.