Saturday 15 February 2020

Movie Review: What Happens In Vegas (2008)

A miserable non-romantic comedy, What Happen In Vegas chokes on a contrived premise laced by a nasty streak of mean behaviour.

In New York City, meticulous planner and stock trader Joy (Cameron Diaz) is dumped by her boyfriend Mason (Jason Sudeikis). Separately, super slob Jack (Ashton Kutcher) is fired from his woodworking job by his own father (Treat Williams). Joy and Jack head to Las Vegas, where a booking mix-up results in them sharing first a hotel room, then a wild and drunken night of partying. They wake up married to each other.

The two realize they have nothing in common and actually cannot stand to be together. But before they separate he uses her quarter in a slot machine and wins $3 million. Back in New York, a judge (Dennis Miller) gives them six months to make their marriage work before he decides on the fate of the money. They spend most of that time making each other miserable between visits to marriage counsellor Dr. Twitchell (Queen Latifa).

Stretching for rom-com originality, What Happens In Vegas loses sight of its own purpose. Writer Dana Fox creates rough sketches of two unlikeable characters, labels them "perfectionist" and "boor", and throws them together. It's no surprise Joy and Jack share no chemistry, and director Tom Vaughan clutters most of the film with juvenile shenanigans as the unwilling couple try to wind each other up.

Other than a couple of laughs, most of the attempted jokes plumb the deep depths of cliche land, resorting to the most tired of toilet seat and dirty laundry gender conflicts. Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher go through the motions stuck in overacting mode, and never come close to convincing. The requisite relationship u-turn demanding they start to perhaps care for each other arrives late and is based on nothing.

The best friends supporting roles are occupied by Lake Bell and Rob Corddry, and they mostly fill the background with forgettable presence.

What Happens In Vegas should never have happened.

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