Another Vegas Hangover
Unoriginal and obvious are just two of a variety of words that spring to mind to describe the Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz romantic comedy "What Happens in Vegas". Why? Because like many modern, overly commercially romantic comedies "What Happens in Vegas" is glossy, predictable and trades on the likeability of Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz whilst following a well trodden path that has been used in over movies such as "The Break Up". But, despite being predictable, even a little throw away in its delivery of cliche after cliche; it is also good fun never trying to be anything more than simple entertainment.
When Jack (Ashton Kutcher - A Lot Like Love), a laid back slacker, is fired by his boss and dad he heads off to Vegas with his best friend in tow where he meets career minded Joy (Cameron Diaz - The Holiday) who having just been embarrassingly dumped by her fiancée has also headed off to Vegas with her best friend. After a night of drunken fun Joy and Jack wake up to discover that in the midst of their alcohol fuelled antics they have somehow got married. Immediately agreeing it was a mistake and should get it annulled things take a strange turn when Jack wins a fortune with Joy's money and the divorce judge decides that as they refuse to share the money they will need to serve six months of "Hard Marriage" before he allows them to part, not easy for the mismatched pair.
Many movie reviews have criticised "What Happens in Vegas" in that it is all too obvious when it comes to the storyline and I have to admit that I agree. Within minutes of "What Happens in Vegas" starting you can figure out where the movie will lead as we are introduced to Joy & Jack as well as their best friends before they head off to Vegas. You can second guess pretty much everything, even the secondary storyline featuring their best friends love/hate relationship. But the strangest thing is it doesn't matter and in some ways is comforting that this is going to be a movie which doesn't need masses of concentration and that you can just sit back and enjoy the warring relationships.
Where my criticism comes is that whilst the main focus of the movie is going to be on the humour when it comes to the warring couple, and for the most it is entertaining, when the obligatory romance element is introduced it doesn't naturally blend in with what has gone before, in fact feeling like it has been thrown in with little thought to how. The affect of this is that it jars with the early part of the movie making the change of track extremely noticeable and despite being a "throw-away" movie it is still disappointing.
But then "What Happens in Vegas" is very much a comedy first and a romance second, as we get a barrage of funny scenes as Joy & Jack try to get the other to fail in their forced marriage. Yes some of the comedy is again very obvious and certain moments feel a bit too cheap, but then there are some equally hilarious moments such as the constant battle over the use of the toilet. I can again see why some movie reviewers didn't find it that funny as the comedy for the most is not clever, even a little rudimentary, but the simplicity of it is enjoyable and effective. Like the storyline the comedy works because you don't have to think about it, just wait for the next orchestrated laugh. Thankfully director Tom Vaughan judges the pace perfectly so that although "What Happens in Vegas" is full of comedy there is enough spacing in between the humour for the storyline to appear and stop it feeling like a procession of set piece after set piece.
Now to the sticky bit as the performances from the main stars Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz are a bit hit and miss. In the scenes where "What Happens in Vegas" focuses on the comedy their performances are good with Kutcher excelling as the slacker who never completes anything and Diaz doing a good impression as the career driven go getter. But then in the more romantic, tender moments there is a lack of chemistry between them and it just doesn't work. It gives the romantic element of the movie a very immature feel and the fact that Kutcher looks scared when it comes to those romantic moments with Diaz trying to look all dewy eyed just spoils it. It's a shame really as they both excel in the comedy areas which thankfully do take up the majority of the movie.
Except for Rob Corddry as Hater and Lake Bell as Tipper, Jack & Joy's best friends, the rest of the supporting cast are never more than back ground noise. Corddry and Bell who do get limited scenes do an adequate job with their small storyline to give the movie a bit more depth but act more as a distraction for when there is a lull in the movie. For those movie fans who pay attention the rest of the supporting cast does feature some recognizable faces such as Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Treat Williams (Everwood), Dennis Farina (Striking Distance) and Queen Latifah (Taxi).
What it all boils down to is that "What Happens in Vegas" is an entertaining and funny romantic comedy with the emphasis on the comedy. It's not original and the storyline is far from being clever but that doesn't matter as it is an easy on the eye and mind movie. It's the sort of movie that if you enjoyed the similar "The Break-Up" then the chances are you will enjoy this as well.