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Movies Review

What Happens In Vegas

By
What Happens In Vegas
Director: Tom Vaughan
Screenwriter: Dana Fox
Starring: Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Rob Corddry, Treat Williams
Running time: 98 mins
Certificate: 12A

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. If only that were the case, then we wouldn't have this woefully inadequate 'comedy' foisted upon our cherished cinema screens.

A random night on the tiles in Vegas sees strangers Jack (Kutcher) and Joy (Diaz) drown their sorrows after a poor run of luck in the relationship department. They wake up the next morning to discover they are married, only for Jack to scoop a huge multi-million dollar jackpot at a fruit machine with Joy's quarter. They both want the dosh and a court decides they have to try to stick it out as a couple for a few months, but they're both keen for each other to fail.

The film rattles along at a fortunately fast pace, but not quick enough to suppress the groans that stem from the laboured attempts at humour. Case in point: Joy's name is the basis for a gag that points out the irony that she is far from joyful. The dialogue is all so obvious that it wouldn't be a surprise if Diaz's or Kutcher's elbow emerged from the screen to nudge you in the ribs to solicit a giggle. Perhaps, one day, with advances in technology that might actually be possible. Be very afraid.

Away from the laughter void, there's one fundamental flaw that prevents us from tapping in to the 'will-they-won't-they' romantic intrigue between the fractious couple - namely that Jack is a thoroughly obnoxious jerk. As a result of the gross, spiteful acts he commits, like urinating on dishes that Joy has to wash or spiking her drink before an important meeting, Jack is so unlikeable that you don't want him to get the girl, or anywhere near her.

This pretty much scuppers the sentimental last portion of the movie. Perhaps a more amiable leading man may have added an endearing element to Jack, but Ashton Kutcher merely reinforces the character's undesirable nature through his performance.

Cameron Diaz turns in her usual kooky and bubbly display, at least exuding a sense of fun and playfulness. Her spirit is best showcased in one of the very few funny sequences in the film, in which she uses any means necessary to zip across the city and make it to a marriage counselling meeting on time, including a quick boob flash to a taxi driver. (Sorry lads, the money shot is for the cabbie's eyes only). Treat Williams as Jack's father and Dennis Miller as Judge Whopper (funny name, huh?) are also watchable and help to ease the suffering until the end credits roll.

What Happens In Vegas populates a decent rom-com structure with a littering of awful, contrived gags and the nonsensical characterisation of the leading male. Still, at least the cabbie had some fun.

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