Latest rom com finds Diaz and Kutcher in good form

What Happens In Vegas

on May 08, 2008 by Pete Hammond

Being released right on the heels of two other femme-oriented romantic comedies
( Baby Mama, Made of Honor ) , Fox is clearly hoping three’s a charm by counterprogramming the kid-centric Speed Racer and trying to establish this PG-13 romp as the date movie of the moment with well attended Saturday night sneaks (at the virtually unprecedented start time of 10 p.m.). Set around a premise where stars Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher play strangers who wind up drunk, married and rich on a wild weekend in Vegas and then must outwit each other to get the money, this breezy confection should work well corralling it’s target demo to come up triple 7s for Fox if the marketplace can handle yet another rom com.

The plot (which really doesn’t matter) centers around a wacked-out Vegas weekend merger between Jack Fuller (Kutcher), a slacker carpenter who has just been fired by his impossible-to-please father (Treat Williams), and Joy McNally (Diaz), a commodities trader who lives her life personally and professionally by the numbers and has just been dumped by her fiancée. Urged on by their respective friends Hater (Rob Corddry) and Tipper (Lake Bell) to forget their NYC woes in Vegas, they “meet cute” when both sets of guys and girls are accidentally booked into the same hotel room in a scene of high-pitched hysteria that immediately lets the audience know they are not in for a subtle evening of drawing-room comedy. This all leads to a frenetically paced wild drunken party spree that ends in a wedding chapel where Jack and Joy, blitzed to the core, get hitched. Common sense (not to mention reality) rears its ugly head in the light of day as the now-battling pair plan an immediate annulment that becomes hopelessly complicated when Jack casually hits a $3-million slot jackpot with Joy’s quarter. Both claim the cash, but in order to get the community property, a New York judge (Dennis Miller) demands they show they’re serious about the “marriage” and requires they stay together for six months to prove they are a real couple.

Fox’s marketing campaign, which emphasizes its star pairing (“Cameron! Ashton! Vegas!”), is a little deceptive since it implies the movie is set in Vegas, when in fact only about 15 minutes are spent there. The majority of the picture takes place in New York City. Nevertheless, the promise of a riotous battle of the sexes pays off thanks to the charms of the two stars, who are in good form here. No one does “party girl” better than Diaz, and she is well matched with the younger Kutcher, who finds himself in a predicament many guys will emphasize with. The supporting cast is fine, particularly Corddry and Bell as the pair’s best friends. An unbilled (at least in marketing materials) Queen Latifah is shown to little advantage as a marriage counselor, but this is the Cameron/Ashton show, and they don’t disappoint—specially in the film’s second half when the high jinks calm down and the story hits its stride.

Distributor: Fox
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Lake Bell, Rob Corddry, Jason Sudeikis, Treat Williams, Deirdre O’Connell, Dennis Farina, Queen Latifah and Dennis Miller
Director: Tom Vaughan
Screenwriter: Dana Fox
Producers: Michael Aguilar, Shawn Levy and Jimmy Miller
Genre: Romantic comedy
Rating: PG-13 for some sexual and crude content and language including a drug reference
Running time: 98 min.
Release date: May 9

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