What Happens in Vegas
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES (2-DISC EDITION): Commentary by Director; Three Featurettes (19.00); Six Deleted Scenes (7.00); Gag reel (5.00); Easter egg (1.41).
IT’S tempting to write that What Happens in Vegas should have stayed there (and a lot of critics probably will!) but as tedious as this bad-natured romantic comedy gets at times, there’s still enough to keep audiences entertained.
Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher, for instance, prove an amiable central couple, there’s strong support from the likes of Rob Corddry and Dennis Farina, and the central concept itself is strong enough to keep things afloat.
Jack (Kutcher) is a hopelessly juvenile carpenter who suddenly finds himself out of a job when his father fires him, while Joy (Diaz) is a career go-getter who has just been dumped by her fiancée for being too controlling – both head to Vegas in a bid to let off some steam.
Hooking up for an evening of drunken debauchery, Jack and Joy awake the next morning to find themselves married and immediately agree to get a divorce. But when Jack hits the jackpot on a slot machine using Joy’s money, both want a share of the $3 million.
Trouble is, the judge refuses to grant them one until they’ve spent six months trying to make things work or face losing the fortune entirely. So, Jack and Joy move in together determined to get one over each other and keep the loot for themselves.
British director Tom Vaughn (who last helmed the endearing Brit-com Starter For 10) quickly gets the stars together and then lets them loose on each other for a really dirty battle of the sexes. We’re talking antics such as peeing in the kitchen sink when Joy spends too long in the bathroom in the morning, removing toilet seats in the middle of the night and all manner of trickery to make it seem as though one is cheating on the other.
But while there’s certainly a guilty pleasure to be had in watching some of the one up-manship on display, the film comes perilously close to over-egging the jokes and meanness on display at the expense of making you care.
Fortunately, Kutcher’s character pulls himself back from the brink in just enough time to make the final third of proceedings worth sticking with, as he finally comes to realise he has feelings for Diaz’s Joy, and Vaughn obliges with some genuinely heartfelt scenes between the two of them.
He also makes good use of a strong support cast, with Corddry and Lake Bell providing several laugh-out-loud moments as the friends of each couple who loathe each other, Dennis Farina scene-stealing as usual as Joy’s competitive boss, and Treat Williams as Jack’s father, who offers some sanity despite being under-used.
What Happens In Vegas is a far from perfect comedy and is often as vulgar, frustrating and tiresome as the lead characters themselves. But it’s heart is eventually to be found in the right place and it’s a pretty safe bet that it’ll leave viewers with the right kind of feel-good glow come the end.
Running time: 98mins
UK DVD Release: September 8, 2008