Saturday, 25 October 2008

No.96 : What Happens In Vegas

IMDb Link :

Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz star in this formulaic rom-com that has little to recommend it apart from some fun scenes in the titular town and some decent supporting players.

The film opens with both our leads facing difficult times. Kutcher is a slacker who works for his dad’s furniture firm. When he’s caught goofing off he gets the boot from his Dad who is tired of his lack of application and indeed basketball skills. Elsewhere, control freak Diaz is planning a surprise birthday party for her stuffed shirt fiancĂ© but is dumped before the surprise is sprung, to the embarrassment of her hiding friends.

The down in the dumps duo drown their sorrows with their best pals and independently decide that a trip to Vegas is the best bet to chase the blues away. Due to a computer mix up the couples are assigned to the same room and after a bit of comic fighting the hotel agrees to upgrade them by way of compensation. Kutcher and Diaz don’t get on at first but after some heavy boozing and an extended montage scene things start to click. The next morning Diaz is relived to find her tattoo is of the temporary variety but unfortunately the wedding ring is not.

At breakfast the pair agree to annulment but start to fight over who got the worse end of the match. Before stomping off Diaz gives Kutcher 25c to call his lawyer which he sticks in a slot machine. As dictated by movie law, and no doubt the casino sponsors, the coin is good for a $3 million jackpot and the warring couple find themselves bickering over who gets the cash. Sadly for them they get a script approved judge who enacts some made up law and compels them to live together for six months before the fate of the cash is decided.

The middle portion of the film is then devoted to various schemes from both sides and their allies dedicated to gaining a bigger slice of the pie. As things escalate and the schemes get nastier the couple wonder if it’s worth the grief and whether they really dislike each other after all. When the final judgement is due we are left to guess who’ll get the cash and whether the film will end in the fashion you predicted from the start. (it does)

This is a really poor effort with few laughs and a far fetched plot. The two leads don’t have any chemistry at all and seem a poor match from the off. The best parts are the scenes where their obvious dislike manifests itself in gross out gags and physical fighting. Obviously that can’t last so the characters go through an unbelievable transformation (mediated by an annoying Queen Latifa) that sees the money an after thought to true love.

The only saving grace for me was Rob Corddry as Kutcher’s inept and balding lawyer pal. He showed up in the last Harold & Kumar film and was the best thing in that too as the bigoted ass wiping cop. He is however sadly underused and a subplot involving him lusting after Diaz’s friend is left under developed. The scenes in Vegas were glitzy and enticing but the city showed up so well that there must have been a cash input from tourist board - no one going broke here, only upgrades and jack pots.

The ending was never in doubt, but the sickening closing line about ‘winning the jackpot’ was really vomit educing. Diaz is getting on a bit for these kind of movies and her duck like face seemed a bit haggard for the youthful Kutcher who looked 20 years her junior. Nothing wrong in that but not when she’s been sold as a sexy lead and she look’s like Ashton’s Mom. Ashton is a bit better but his boorish behaviour isn’t endearing and he just comes across as a tit. Add to this a ridiculous Judge and a by the numbers marriage councillor and you have a pretty empty experience. I don’t know what happens in Vegas but this one should definitely stay on the video shop shelf if you are seeking a good night in.

Best Bit : The camcorder wedding footage

‘W’ Rating : 13/23

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