Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

What Happens in Vegas

Reviewed by: Edward Douglas and Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

Buy this DVD at Amazon.com

Rating: PG-13

Starring:
Cameron Diaz as Joy McNally
Ashton Kutcher as Jack Fuller
Rob Corddry as Hater
Lake Bell as Tipper
Jason Sudeikis as Mason
Treat Williams as Jack Fuller Sr.
Deirdre O'Connell as Judy Fuller
Michelle Krusiec as Chong
Dennis Farina as Richard Banger
Zach Galifianakis as Dave the Bear
Queen Latifah as Dr. Twitchell
Krysten Ritter as Kelly
Andrew Daly as Curtis

Special Features:
Audio Commentary by Director Tom Vaughan and Editor Matt Friedman
Sitting Down with Cameron and Ashton Featurette
DVD Extra Time with Zach Galifianakis Featurette
From the Law Firm of Stephen J. Hader, Esq. Featurette
Deleted and Extended Scenes
Gag Reel

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
Spanish and French Languages
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 101 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is from the official synopsis of the film:

"Hit the jackpot with this 2-Disc Special Edition of 'What Happens in Vegas' - featuring an extended version of the movie not shown in theaters and a winning combination of hilarious outrageous extras!

After a wild night of partying, two mismatched strangers, Jack (Ashton Kutcher) and Joy (Cameron Diaz), wake up in Las Vegas to discover they've gotten married! The road to annulment takes a hilarious turn after Jack wins a huge jackpot with Joy's quarter, prompting an all-out battle of the sexes as the 'lucky' newlyweds try to cheat each other out of the money."

"What Happens in Vegas" is rated PG-13 for some sexual and crude content, and language, including a drug reference.

The Movie:
You have to have at least a small amount of sympathy for the poor overworked critic who goes into a movie like "What Happens in Vegas" knowing exactly what to expect from the commercials, praying that they're wrong, only to sit through another formula-driven comedy with a ridiculous premise that fails to deliver on the laughs promised by its very genre.

We've seen this sort of opposites-eventually-attract romantic comedy far too many times in the recent past, but this comedy vehicle introduces a new spin-off to the "meet cute" genre with something we'll call "meet Vegas." There's certainly a danger of a movie like this being a 99-minute advertisement for Las Vegas, adding to the erroneous myths of it being all boozing and easy sex to help you forget all your problems, and it's surprising when the movie only spends ten to fifteen minutes in the city. Joy McNally and Jack Fuller's problems are only beginning when they're double-booked into the same room and one harmless drink turns into a night of partying, and before you can say "Jason Alexander," they're married.

Essentially, the movie is exactly what the trailer promises, a ludicrous and unrealistic premise mandated by the desire to bring these two unlikely people together out of pure sadism, both to them and to us. For what other reason would a judge force two people who clearly don't get along and got married while drunk to stay together for six months rather than granting them a divorce, splitting up the money and being done with it?

It's hard to say whether Diaz and Kutcher are slumming, essentially playing the same characters they've played many times before, and it's hard to separate the actors from their characters because of this. Who knows whether the movie could have been better with lesser-known actors in the roles rather than celebrities, but it certainly couldn't have been much worse, as they embarrass themselves with jokes that everyone has seen or heard before.

Most of the movie consists of the two of them trying to coexist, arguing and finding ways to one-up each other to force the other one out of the marriage to get all the money. Most of the jokes are so mean-spirited that they're rarely funny, relying on many of the obvious stand-bys based on the surface-level differences between men and women, gags we've seen in countless sitcoms over the years. Why someone might have felt that arguments about whether to put the toilet seat up or down is new, original or worthy of a feature film is mystifying.

As is far too often the case with the genre, the ubiquitous best friends steal the movie, and that's the case here as Rob Corddry and Lake Bell offer some of the movie's funniest moments, including a welcome callback before the end credits. Dennis Farina also offers some good bits as Joy's boss who puts her into competition at her job for a coveted promotion, one of the better side subplots. The cast is rounded out by Dennis Miller as the judge, Queen Latifah indeed slumming as the duo's marriage counselor, Treat Williams as Jack's father, and Jason Sudeikis as Joy's former fiancÚ who conveniently reenters her life once she's married to Jack.

Tom Vaughn proved his worth as a director with his previous indie "Starter for 10," but he does little to elevate the material above the typical formulas including lots of comedy montages driven by their soundtrack. One can certainly commend him for keeping the film on course rather than watering down the plot with far too many characters and subplots, plus it does get better as it steers away from the mean pranks and the bickering, but it's also where the film starts approaching its highly predictable and ultimately cheesy outcome.

If you don't have a strong tolerance for Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz, watching this movie will be a losing battle from the get-go, but even moreso, if like me you've seen every single "meet cute" romantic comedy made in the last five years, there's nothing new here that makes the movie worthwhile. At its best, "What Happens in Vegas" is like "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" without the action or "The Break-Up" with less depth--if that's even possible--though thankfully, it never quite hits the emasculating lows of a "Failure to Launch."

The Extras:
Among the extras you'll find your usual offering of bonus features such as a commentary (without the stars), a gag reel, interviews with Diaz and Kutcher, and other stuff. There are also six deleted scenes. You'll also find a funny and noteworthy featurette starring the director and Zach Galifianakis. Rounding things out is "From the Law Firm of Stephen J. Hader, Esq.," a fake commercial offering the law services of Hater.

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