What Happens in Vegas (Extended Jackpot Edition) – DVD Review
By Frankie Dees Aug 24, 2008, 15:28 GMT
After the wildest party night of their lives, two mismatched strangers, Jack (Ashton Kutcher) and Joy (Cameron Diaz), wake up in Vegas to discover they not only got lucky -- they got married! The road to annulment takes a hilarious turn after Jack wins a three million dollar jackpot while playing Joy\'s quarter and a no-nonsense judge (Dennis Miller) sentences them to six months "hard marriage." What follows is an ...more
It was only a matter of time before the oft-abused and overused expression ‘What Happens in Vegas…’ got turned into a movie and is it any surprise that Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher arrive on the business end of it?
Amiable for the masses and contrived for most everybody else, if you’re a fan of either of these admittedly well-matched goofballs then I suppose you could do worse.
Although someone called Dana Fox is credited with writing the script, I’m tempted to say that no writing was involved. Add two dipshits, liquor, Vegas, a curmudgeon judge, shake, stir and pour. Presto! – a comedy that practically writes itself.
Not so much borrowing elements as treading down the same well-traveled path as ‘Green Card’, ‘Fools Rush In’, etc., the age old gag of a couple falling for each other after being married is offered nothing new here outside of an unusual amount of pratfalls and juvenile hijinks.
Jack (Ashton Kutcher) is a goofball man-child canned from a job by his own father (Treat Williams) while Joy (Cameron Diaz), a Wall Street Trader workaholic, gets dumped by her fiancé (Jason Sudeikis) in front of all their friends in what became a surprise pity party. Bee lining to Vegas to lick their wounds, a computer mix-up has Jack and friend invading the same room as Joy and friend.
This, of course, sets up a night of drunken revelry where Joy awakens the next day to find out her and Jack got hitched. After a terse exchange in front of a slot machine where they were to part ways, Jack rashly shoves Joy’s quarter into the machine and lo and behold, a 3 million jackpot. So why not just split the winnings and continue on their separate ways?
Not sure, but somehow they arrive in a court where a judge (Dennis Miller, making no impression) “sentences” them to six months “hard marriage” where they’re forced to try and work it out as husband and wife while the money is frozen.
This sets up ‘How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days’ and ‘The Break-Up’ style-shenanigans where the two scheme and annoy each other in an attempt to make the other fold first and forfeit the money. Jokes include pissing in the sink, removing the bathroom door, waking up to a blender, and so on.
Do they realize their perfect for each other or do they both die a grisly death a la ‘The War of the Roses’? If only. Diaz and Kutcher have a buffoonish chemistry that works well enough but almost everything else in the film is trite and predictable.
Once promising ‘Starter for 10’ director Tom Vaughan seems to do nothing more than make sure that ‘Cameron & Ashton’ keep their big heads in frame and supporting players such as Miller, Williams, Queen Latifah (as the marriage counselor), Dennis Farina, Lake Bell and Rob Corddry are mostly wasted.
The film is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer but as this is a preliminary screener copy from Fox, the film is plagued with digital artifacts that won’t be present in the retail release so I can’t in good faith say anything about the video or audio.
Special Features include an audio commentary from Director Tom Vaughan and Editor Matt Friedman that’s energetic if little else. ‘Sitting Down with Cameron and Ashton’ is what it sounds like – they sit down and talk about the opposite sex. ‘DVD Extra Time with Zach Galifianakis’ is an odd addition where actor Zach interviews Tom Vaughan. Umm, okay.
‘From the Law Firm of Stephen J. Hader, Esq.’ – A funny short that has Rob Corddry reprise his character from the film. The best feature on the disc is the five minute ‘Gag Reel’ which gives a slight glimpse into what this film could have been. Trailers round out the extras.
The film did well this past spring so there’s obviously an audience for this film and I’m sure the pairing of Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher had somebody excited but outside of that obvious casting call, there’s not much here to recommend.
If you’re actively looking for something to waste your time for a couple hours, by all means, but if you want to check out a legitimately good rom-com, might I suggest the much better ‘Definitely, Maybe’, a mostly ignored film that recently got a DVD release.