"What Happens In Vegas" is yet another paint-by-numbers romantic comedy from writer Dana Fox ("The Wedding Date"). While the film has a couple of reasonably enjoyable performances, the story is anything but new. The picture stars Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz as Jack Fuller and Joy McNally - he's a slacker and she's a successful Wall Street trader. Early in the movie, he's stunned to find that he's been fired (by his own father, no less), while she's equally shocked to find that she's been dumped by her fiance (who broke the news to her in front of guests for the surprise party she was about to throw for him.)
Joy and pal Tipper (Lake Bell) decide to head to Vegas, as do Jack and his pal, Hader (Rob Corddry, who is now apparently the first choice for sidekick roles, it seems.) The four wind up booked in the same room together, which eventually leads to the bunch getting drunk in a night on the town. This, unfortunately for the two of them, leads to both Jack and Joy waking up with wedding rings and no knowledge of the prior night. The two agree to part ways, but not before he wins a $3M jackpot with her quarter. He's thrilled, but she protests that it was her quarter...and they're still married.
The couple go before a judge (Dennis Miller), who's none-too-pleased to see yet another couple their age treat marriage like it's nothing. He decides to sentence the two to six months of marriage and freeze the $3M. If they have any hopes of seeing it, they're going to have to at least try to make their relationship work, which includes heading to weekly counseling sessions with a therapist (Queen Latifah).
So starts attempts by both sides to try and wreck the situation in order to make off with the money. It's not exactly surprising that the events don't exactly unfold like "War of the Roses" - they unfold like this was a sitcom (she throws oranges at him), which would be fitting, because it seems an awful lot like it should have been a sitcom. This won't come as any great stunner, either: the two learn some lessons about themselves in the process of trying to make a relationship with someone they can't seem to stand work. The movie can't seem to end it right, either - it reaches a clear end point, then keeps going for another ten minutes, then keeps going into the credits.
Kutcher and Diaz aren't too bad on their own, but casting them together was a questionable choice - the two really don't have any chemistry with one another. Oddly enough, Bell and Corddry have better chemistry in their few scenes together, and both are pretty amusing in supporting efforts - despite the fact that the very funny Corddry is very quickly becoming typecast.
Overall, "What Happens In Vegas" isn't painful to watch, but it's as easy to forget as the night in Vegas at the center of the movie. The two leads offer fine performances, but Dana Fox's bland screenplay is a little too difficult for them to overcome.
The extended edition runs about 101 minutes, while the theatrical cut is listed at 99. I'm stumped as to what the differences between the two cuts are, as despite the "unrated" cut, I didn't see anything here that would be considered anything beyond PG-13.
VIDEO: "What Happens in Vegas" is presented by 20th Century Fox in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The screening copy of the film that was provided offered somewhat below average image quality, with acceptable sharpness/detail, but a considerable amount of artifacting at and shimmering at times. However, this is still not the retail copy and the final copy will hopefully be an improvement.
SOUND: The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The rear speakers do start up at times for some reinforcement of the music and occasional ambience. However, aside from the tunes, the sound mix otherwise folds up to the front, remaining a straightforward romantic comedy mix. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue and clear, full-sounding music.
EXTRAS: After reviewing DVDs for about a decade now, I've gotten to the point where - if I'm going to be honest - I'd rather not have to wade through extras on certain films, and this certainly a film that didn't need much additional explanation. Do we really need to hear Ashton and Cameron's thoughts about relationships in "Sitting Down With Cameron and Ashton"? Even the usually very funny Zach Galifianakis can't get much in the way of laughs interviewing the director in the "DVD Extra with Zach Galifianakis." Rounding out the supplements are a short gag reel, trailers for other Fox titles, 6 deleted/extended scenes and an in-character promo for Corddry's character. Editor Matt Friedman and director Tom Vaughan offer an audio commentary for the feature.
Final Thoughts: "What Happens in Vegas" gets a few laughs and the performances (especially some of the supporting efforts) aren't bad, but the movie can't overcome the vanilla screenplay. Rent it.
The Film C