What Happens in Vegas
dir Tom Vaughan
scr Dana Fox
with Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Rob Corddry, Lake Bell, Queen Latifah, Treat Williams, Dennis Farina, Dennis Miller, Jason Sudeikis, Michelle Krusiec, Zach Galifianakis, Krysten Ritter
release US/UK 9.May.08
08/US Fox 1h38
What Happens in Vegas
The happy couple: Kutcher and Diaz

corddry bell latifah
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
What Happens in Vegas With a script that only barely hangs together by the skin of its teeth, this romantic comedy survives on the considerable charm of its terrific cast. They make it well worth seeing, actually, even though it's otherwise nothing special.

Joy (Diaz) is a Wall Street hotshot who's been dumped by her fiancé (Sudeikis), while Jack (Kutcher) is a womanising carpenter who's been sacked by his father (Williams). Both have acerbic best friends (Bell and Corddry) who suggest a holiday in Vegas to recover. And that's where they meet. After a drunken night, Joy and Jack find themselves both married and in possession of a $3 million jackpot. But a judge (Miller) tells them they must see a counsellor (Latifah) for six months before deciding how to split the cash in the divorce.

It's plainly clear from the beginning both exactly where this film is heading and how it will get there. Fortunately, Diaz and Kutcher are two of the most likeably cute actors in Hollywood, and they could make anything entertaining. Despite the predictability, watching them is great fun, as their energetic chemistry injects life into the slapstick, farce, drama and romance. And Corddry and Bell are terrific as sparky variations on the requisite best-pal roles.

Director Vaughan keeps things lively and colourful, making the most of the Las Vegas sequence and then bringing back visual reminders as these characters return to New York and repeatedly try to get out of the relationship with all the money. We can, of course, see that they are also slowly falling for each other, but the sassy, witty banter almost keeps us distracted from the painfully over-familiar formula that's at work here.

For a battle of the sexes movie, there's nothing remotely clever or original going on here. But there's some decent comedy, even if the writer couldn't be bothered to think up a new gag (that old toilet-seat chestnut again), plus some mildly amusing attempts to sabotage each other. And in the end, the sheer magnetism of Diaz and Kutcher are enough to overcome both the lame predictability and the schmaltzy sentiment of it all. It's never more than mindless fluff, but sometimes that's all you need.

cert 12 themes, language, innuendo 17.Apr.08

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© 2008 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall