Movie Review: Less than a full house, deck in ‘Vegas’
What happens in Vegas is sometimes a surprise, which is what keeps people from all over the world booking tickets to southern Nevada.
However, you probably already know “What Happens in Vegas.”
You probably already know because it stars Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. If you need a leading lady to fall on her ass, perform embarrassingly bad dance moves or get … um … something in her hair, Diaz is the go-to girl. And Kutcher might have evolved beyond Kelso from “That ’70s Show” or the “Where’s My Car” dude, but with “Just Married,” “My Boss’s Daughter,” “Guess Who,” “A Lot Like Love” and now “Vegas” under his belt, star-crossed romantic comedies aren’t exactly virgin territory for him.
Other movie reviewers have pointed out that Lake Bell and Rob Corddry, as the respective best friends of the leads, are more interesting, but she’s a shrew and he’s a creep, so they’re not much more fun to watch. Corddry should be especially concerned about typecasting after playing unpleasant Homeland Security official Ron Fox in “Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay.”
(Weirdly enough, Corddry also appeared in an episode of “The Winner” last year called “What Happens in Albany Stays in Albany,” according to the Internet Movie Database.)
That leaves less than a full house to flesh out “Vegas,” but a Queen (Latifah) and a pair of Dennises (Miller and Farina) are more lively than Diaz and Kutcher, and less obnoxious than Bell and Corddry.
After scoring some buzz with the critically acclaimed “Starter for 10,” director Tom Vaughan appears to be playing with less than a full deck. For one thing, much of what happens in “Vegas” happens in New York. They’re only in Vegas for the first third, when Joy McNally (Diaz) and Jack Fuller (Kutcher) meet cute, then end up hung over and married. Immediately after they give each other the kiss-off, he hits the jackpot on her token in a slot machine, and they’re back in New York for a judge (Miller) to sentence the couple to six months’ hard marriage so they can divide the millions equally.
Both main characters are so lame that there doesn’t seem to be much cause for animosity before the judge sentences them to move in together. Yet, watching couples fight wasn’t very much fun back when “War of the Roses” came out in 1989 or when real-life twosome Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn made “The Break-Up” two years ago.
And speaking of animosity, for as much backlash as Judd Apatow’s formula for comedy has generated, “What Happens in Vegas” shows what happens when that same formula falls into less capable hands. The driven career woman-meets-affable slacker formula should feel familiar, but pretty-boy Kutcher would be hard to buy as one of Apatow’s scrubs and schlubs.
It’s barren ground for comedy, and it left me with the feeling that more should have happened in Vegas ” and more should have happened in “Vegas.”