To me, it’s not insignificant that Made of Honor came out last week, right before What Happens in Vegas hit the screens. They represent two different ends of the romantic comedy spectrum. What Happens in Vegas is everything that Made of Honor wanted to be but failed to be.
I was dreading both films, and after Doctor McDreamy’s colossal misfire, I was really dreading What Happens in Vegas. But after catching the film in an afternoon press screening, I was quite shocked by how much I found myself laughing.
The story follows a slacker named Jack (Ashton Kutcher) and an uptight stock broker named Joy (Cameron Diaz) who meet up during a weekend in Las Vegas, then get married on a whim. Right after they plan on getting a divorce, they hit a $3 million jackpot on a slot machine. In order to take home the money, a judge makes them live together as a married couple for six months.
On the surface, What Happens in Vegas seems to be a run-of-the-mill romantic comedy. While I enjoy a good romantic comedy, I felt we were treading on old ground with Ashton Kutcher in a film about a crumbling marriage (his first being Just Married with Brittany Murphy).
For the core of the story, things were okay. There’s not a whole lot of new things when it comes to the plot. On the whole, Kutcher and Diaz do have a bit of chemistry, although Diaz is looking a bit rough around the edges. Still, Kutcher carries the team. Let’s face it, when it comes to playing the idiot, this is his gift.
As you might expect, there’s a lot of predictability with the script. When the film rolls into the rote storyline, it gets a bit tedious. Fortunately, there are other parts of the movie that work exceedingly well.
While Kutcher and Diaz have chemistry, the real charm of the movie comes from the supporting cast. Rob Corddry and Lake Bell play their best friends, and they are hilarious. In fact, if the whole film would have been about these two, it would have been the funniest movie of the year. (And it was probably a mistake to cast the younger, hotter Lake Bell as Cameron Diaz’s best friend.)
In addition to Corddry and Bell, the cast is populated with other great comedians. Dennis Miller is hilarious as the judge. Dennis Farina is great as Joy’s grumpy boss. And Zach Galifianakis steals all of the scenes he’s in as Jack’s creepy friend who has a crush on Joy.
The past few weeks have had several films that I have been dreading, and both Baby Mama and What Happens in Vegas were surprisingly good. This film is great counter-programming to Speed Racer and will probably ensure work for Ashton Kutcher until TV Land tries to launch a That 70s Show reunion special.
THE UPSIDE: A great supporting cast… in fact better than the leads.
THE DOWNSIDE: Gets a little lame when they go back to the standard rom com plot.
ON THE SIDE: From a legal standpoint, roaringly drunk couples usually can’t get married at the chapels in Vegas.