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What Happens in Vegas (2008)
What Happens in Vegas is a 2008 American romantic comedy film from 20th Century Fox starring Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher. The title is based on the marketing catchphrase, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." In New York City, high-strung stockbroker Joy Ellis McNally (Cameron Diaz) is dumped by her fiancé at a surprise birthday she throws for him. At the same time easy-going carpenter Jack Fuller (Ashton Kutcher) is fired from his job by his father, Jack, Sr. (Treat Williams). Both become emotionally distraught and, with best friends Tipper (Lake Bell), a bartender, and Hater (Rob Corddry), a District Attorney, take a debauched trip to Las Vegas. Joy and Jack meet by chance when they are given the same hotel room because of a computer error. After clearing up the misunderstanding and receiving upgraded rooms and coupons to various clubs, they party and drink together and end up getting married. The next morning, they realize it was a mistake and decide to divorce. Before they do so, Jack uses a quarter Joy gives him in a slot machine. He hits a three million dollar jackpot and Joy reminds Jack that they are married and hence, she is entitled to half of the money.
After getting dumped by her stiff-collared fiancé, efficient New York securities trader Joy McNally (Diaz) gets talked into a trip to Sin City by her best friend, slutty bartender Tipper (Lake Bell). A mix up at the front desk finds recently fired NYC furniture builder Jack Fuller (Kutcher) and his shyster slacker pal Hater (Rob Corddry) sharing the same room. A night of drunken debauchery finds Joy and Jack married. As they discuss divorce, the random pull of a slot machine sees the pair win $3 million. Taking the matter to court, a defiant judge (Dennis Miller) orders the pair to actually live as husband and wife for six months. If they survive, they'll split the money. But if one fails, it's an unexpected windfall for the other.
Wrapping 197 plots into a single, sloppy narrative, What Happens in Vegas is almost painful to watch. It's a decent romance rigged to a hideously unfunny comedy. Bouncing wildly between farce and calculated coupling insights, our characters exist in a world where men are pigs, women are manipulative shrews, and somewhere in between exist a sprinkling of skanks, dipsticks, and sexually inappropriate bosses. The script, by Wedding Date scribe Dana Fox, contains so many flaws that you wonder what's holding it all together. It clearly isn't the pedestrian, music-montage-heavy direction from Tom Vaughn.
No, the only reason this entire project doesn't supernova and start sucking the life out of the universe like a cinematic black hole is the leads. Cameron Diaz needs to do something to break out of these mixed-up, part-ditz/part-determined cutesy career gal roles. She's constantly being cast as a junior college Meg Ryan, but at 36, she can only push the enviable eye candy bit so far. Kutcher, on the other hand is like box office body odor. Look over his resume from the last few years and the aroma of failure is pungent. Yet thanks to his quasi-chemistry with Diaz, and a few moments where the written mechanics give way to improvised genuineness, he scoots along unscathed.
Clearly aimed to counterprogram the male adolescent aura given off by the summer blockbusters, What Happens in Vegas is a date movie for those who really don't see their relationship going anywhere. It's the equivalent of a tween's school notepad, cover adorned with quixotic designs and heart-dotted lettering and lacking one ounce of intelligence or insight. You can literally see the cast desperate to overcome the whisper-thin material, including completely underserved supporting players like Treat Williams (as Jack's father), Queen Latifah (as the couple's court-ordered marriage counselor), and comedian Zach Galifianakis.
The result is a movie that mocks everything love is founded on before coming full circle to embrace each and every formulaic facet. It also strives to ply personality, not obvious gags, for laughs, and only ends up proving that caricature offers neither. Somewhere buried in this staid, stereotypical excuse for a likeable lover's spat is a decent idea for a movie. Since all involved can't find it, it's up to the audience to. They'll be lost as well.
The DVD includes a commentary track from director Tom Vaughn, deleted scenes, a gag reel, interviews, and goofy vignettes like a legal services infomercial starring Rob Corddry.
I went to Vegas and all I got was this lousy three million dollars.