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Review: What Happens in Vegas

Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher bring a surprising sweetness to their generic roles and the story’s contrived situations.

What Happens in Vegas
Photo: 20th Century Fox

Michael McCullers’s Baby Mama has been praised by some as a chick flick dudes can really get behind, and it was Tina Fey who recently pegged all movies featuring weddings as “chick flicks”—even Wedding Crashers. If you believe any of that, consider What Happens in Vegas a chick flick for guys who shoot fast. It’s in Vegas that dipshit Jack Fuller (Ashton Kutcher) and commodities trader Joy McNally (Cameron Diaz) get hitched, and the road these hot messes take to the altar passes by so fast on-screen they won’t be the only ones puking their guts out once the night is through. Painful as their whirlwind meet-cute is to them, audiences bear the brunt of it, but after Jack wins three million dollars from a slot machine using one of Joy’s quarters, mere seconds after the two agree to a divorce, the film settles into an almost agreeable pace. Written by Dana Fox, the tin ear behind The Wedding Date, the film is a near-complete playlist of rom-com tropes and clichés (the only surprise here is that Jack and Joy’s respective BFFs never lock lips by the time the credits roll), beginning with the couple sentenced to a “six months hard marriage” by, ugh, Judge Whopper (Dennis Miller) when they return to New York. Outside the court, Jack’s buddy “Hater” (Rob Corddry) says Whopper is clearly trying to make an example of Jack and Joy, as if two drunks getting married in Vegas is the same thing as, I don’t know, a celebrity bilking millions from the IRS. The film gives a transparent spin to the saying that whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, with Jack and Joy predictably hating on each other by targeting each other’s male and female weaknesses until they start doing cute things (like throwing children in the air and wearing sexy clothes) and begin to earnestly fall for each other, but Diaz and Kutcher bring a surprising sweetness to their generic roles and the story’s contrived situations. So credible is their alternately sardonic and sexy repartee that they make the idea of Orville Redenbacher Popcorn w/ Ashton Kutcher Salty Balls Dressing seem like a viable commodity.

Cast: Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Rob Corddry, Treat Williams, Lake Bell, Dennis Farina, Jason Sudeikis, Queen Latifah, Dennis Miller Director: Tom Vaughan Screenwriter: Dana Fox Distributor: 20th Century Fox Running Time: 99 min Rating: R Year: 2008 Buy: Video

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