What Happens in Vegas


What Happens in Vegas (2008)

Diaz and Kutcher hit the jackpot

This week’s Cinema Connoisseur column is going to be a little different. I’ll be reviewing a film, which not only has been released in the past decade, but is currently in theatres! This is real cutting edge stuff – no outdated references to Bea Arthur and Chevy Chase this week (don’t worry, they will return next column).

This summer if you want to only experience the cream of the crop, then stay away from that bucket of bolts called Iron Man. Abstain from Sex in the City. The only film that comes up aces this summer isWhat Happens in Vegas. Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher star in this truly revolutionary romantic comedy that turns the genre upside down.

Cameron Diaz plays Joy McNally, an uptight stockbroker who is dumped by her fiancée at a surprise party that she has thrown for him. In order to try to get over the situation, Joy heads to Las Vegas with her best friend Tipper (Lake Bell) for a little fun and excitement – although that fun is to be accomplished in a highly structured manner.

Meanwhile Jack Fuller (Ashton Kutcher) is a young man who tackles everything in his life in a halfhearted manner. After being fired for his constant lack of effort at work, he challenges his boss to a game of basketball to win his job back, but once again his lack of drive and determination are his downfall. We then learn that his boss is… get this… his father! This was arguably the most shocking moment on film since we learned Darth Vader sired Luke Skywalker.

Still image from What Happens in VegasJack and his best buddy Hater (Rob Corddry) also head to Las Vegas, for a weekend of debauchery to drown Jack’s sorrows away. Hijinks ensue when Jack and Hater are booked in the same room with Joy and Tipper, resulting in much screaming and groin kicking. My side still hurts from laughing at that scene. Although I did fall down some stairs recently, so that might be partially responsible for the pain.

The four set aside their differences and hit the town. Jack and Joy have a wild night of passion, and wake up to find out that they had gotten married the night before. While their first thought is to get a quickie divorce, things get complicated when they combine to hit the jackpot playing slots.

While they squabble over who gets to keep their newfound fortune, a cranky judge (Dennis Miller) sentences them to stay married for six months. This forced union causes them to truly despise one another. Jack doesn’t like Joy’s planning and prissiness. Joy doesn’t like the fact that Jack sometimes urinates in the sink.

However, in one of the most unpredictable twists in motion picture history, the two actually fall in love! The relationship between Jack and Joy can best be described through these lyrics from the hit song “Opposites Attract” by Paula Abdul:

“And you know-it ain’t fiction/
Just a natural fact/
We come together/
Cuz opposites attract”

Well put Paula, you’ve never made more sense, and I mean that. So in the case of Jack and Joy, what will win out – their love for one another, or their love of cold hard cash? Head to your local movie-plex or theatre to find out. Treat yourself to some popcorn while you’re there, you deserve it.

Diaz and Kutcher have unmatched onscreen chemistry. I truly believed they hated each other, and I truly believed they loved each other at the same time. That takes real acting talent. If you don’t shed a tear during a tender scene when Joy says to her husband, “I’d bet on you Jack,” you are clearly some form of Klingon, robot or Scientologist.

So, what happens in Vegas? Cinematic gold, that’s what happens. What Happens in Vegas truly hits the jackpot.

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