We all know what goes in Las Vegas – it’s Sin City after all. You get drunk. You get laid. 80% of the time you gamble away a small fortune. And depending on how long you’re visiting, you do it all over again the following night. Why? Because what happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in Vegas. Unfortunately, party boy Jack Fuller (Ashton Kutcher) and high strung commodities broker Joy McNally (Cameron Diaz) didn’t get that memo.
You see, they’ve done the ultimate sin – after knowing each other for four hours they decided to get married. Further complicating the matter, is the fact that they’re being forced to go back to New York and see it through for six months as a way to teach them a lesson. Aside from that setup, What Happens in Vegas …, it turns out, is just a rehash of the multitude of “throw two incompatible people together and watch them grow on each other” romantic comedies.
Yet amazingly enough, Kutcher and Diaz are palatable as polar opposite lovers – I most certainly figured the two of them together would have been a train wreck. If there is a role meant for Mr. Demi Moore, it is that of one that doesn’t require much of a stretch from how I suspect he acts in real life. Here, he seamlessly takes on the persona of a messy, commitment fearing bachelor that doesn’t take anything seriously. On the other hand, Diaz tackles a role which I figure isn’t anything like she really is. The part of Joy, is mostly strict, planning and devoid of the ability to let loose and have fun. Together they do their damnedest to give a oil and water, and Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson (think How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days) a run for their money. And while I’m speaking on the actors – Diaz looks fantastic. The nose job she had, has simply elevated her to new heights. Now she’s got the look to go with her super-cut body.
But even though I’m happy with the people that were cast in the starring roles, the screenplay by Dana Fox is a bit underwhelming, to say the least. What Happens in Vegas … doesn’t attempt to explore new territory nor does it reinvigorate the old. It’s difficult to imagine that two good looking people in a romantic comedy can’t make it work. Their lines are mostly stale (the Dick Banger joke in commercials may be the best of the lot, which is so very sad) and the many of the scenes they’re put in border on stupidity (pissing in a sink full if dishes is funny in a college comedy not a romantic one). But the fault doesn’t just lay with heavily cliched writing by Ms. Fox, director Tom Vaughan has to swallow a piece of this bitter pill too. He doesn’t ask his stars to do much, other than look good and bumble about awkwardly through the scenes by basically having them act like 12-year olds. And as much as it pains me to say it, good looks and rock-hard abs aren’t enough to carry a movie on.
If there is a silver lining to this cloud, it is with the supporting cast. Lake Bell and Rob Corddry play Joy’s and Jack’s best friends who fight even more vigorously than the leads do. Corddry wears pompousness like a cologne (he was the bright spot in Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay) and Bell plays the annoying bitch admirably. I found myself more interested in their relationship; actually hoping they would hook up since there was so little spark between Joy and Jack.
So sadly, What Happens in Vegas … is an example of what can happen when poor writing and direction overpower the cast. Kutcher and Diaz do what they can with what little skill they have and with what little they’re given to work with. Bell and Corddry manage a bit better, but unfortunately they’re not given enough screen time to really make a dent. After viewing, I realized what the title of the movie should have been:
What Happens in Vegas … is Destined for the Bargain Bin.