Projections - Movie Reviews
With Jim Sabatini


What Happens in Vegas

What Happens in Vegas
Starring:
Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Treat Williams, Queen Latifah, Dennis Miller and Lake Bell


Rated: PG-13 for some sexual and crude content, and language, including a drug reference
Reviewed by: Frank  
Release date: May 9, 2008 Released by: Twentieth Century Fox

What Happens In Vegas, takes place in New York. After a quick drunken relationship in Vegas and one of those quickie marriages Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher return home to New York where a divorce should be easy.

But Judge Whopper (Dennis Miller) determines the couple should remain married and living together for six months to give the marriage a chance. To complicate matters Jack (Kutcher) has won three million dollars using a quarter from Joy (Diaz), so who gets the money is a question. A simple split would have been easy but this Dana Fox script reaches for silly rather than comedy. The Judge also freezes the winnings until after the six months have passed. Those who remember 1994's It Could Happen To You with Nicholas Cage and Bridget Fonda will recall the winning lottery number was in contention between Cage and his wife Rosie Perez. Even Perez's ugly wife was comical in some situations and we were on the side of the two winners. Diaz and Kutcher draw no chemistry or empathy for their characters.

The script requires Diaz to spend overly extended moments laughing and giggling far beyond what we can tolerate in her character. Even with the encouragement of Tipper (Lake Bell) who adds some comic feel to her part, living in the flop house of Kutcher's Jack Fuller irritates rather than amuses. Lucille Ball and her husband Desi could pull off the tit-for-tat challenges they gave to each other; and Rock Hudson with Doris Day pulled off a similar drunken night with marriage coming in the last scene in a maternity ward, in Lover Come Back back in 1959, but that doesn't happen in Vegas or New York for Joy and Jack.

If there was hope perhaps Queen Latifah's Dr. Twitchell, the marriage councilor, could have made it happen but the script doesn't give her a chance except to determine that opposites attract.

If comedy is hard, it is clearly far too difficult to make work here. As the expected climax arrives the two characters cannot sleep, but we can easily sleep through What Happens In Vegas.

  Frank Chris Jim Sam Howard Jennifer Kathleen  Avg. 
What Happens in Vegas  C-            C-      C   C- 

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