Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

I hate romantic comedies. As I have said on numerous occasions, though all movies tend to follow a basic formula, Romantic Comedies are the most guilty of this infraction to the point that it seems if certain plot devices aren’t followed, a movie simply can’t be classified as a romantic comedy. I shouldn’t even be dispatched to review Romantic Comedies because I just like them less than that dude was telling Sam I Am how much he hates Green Eggs and Ham. I hate Romantic Comedies. Except for ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and, well… this one.

Joy (Cameron Diaz) and Jack (Ashton Kutcher) are at a crossroads in their respective lives. Joy is a hard driven, incredibly organized, terminally upbeat Wall Street floor trader whose fiancé recently broke up with her in front of all their friends before a surprise birthday party. Jack on the other hand is an unorganized irresponsible wood craftsman who was recently fired from his job as a manager at a furniture factory, made all the worst since the man that fired him was his father. Since this is a Romantic Comedy you’ve gotta have at least one spicy, salty funny friend, and we’re particularly blessed with this flick because each of our principles has a spicy salty funny friend, thus giving us TWO spicy salty funny friends in Joy’s best bud Tipper (Lake Bell) and a Jack’s lawyer bud Hater (Rob Corddry). Both of these funny people advise their friends that they need a Las Vegas getaway and off they go.

As circumstance would have it our foursome are mistakenly stuck in the same room and naturally there is some animosity, but this is Vegas and the bright lights combined with the inexpensive liquor leads to a helluva night with Joy and Jack waking up as husband and wife. Now completely sober, Joy and Jack realize that they hate each other with a passion usually reserved for the chicks on Flavor of Love and a quick annulment is definitely the next order of business. Then Jack drops a quarter given to him by his soon to be ex-wife in the slot machine and hits a 3 million dollar nut. One

would think the obvious order of business would be for the pair to split the loot and be done with it but then that would deprive us of a boatload of hilarity and hi-jinx and we very well couldn’t have that. So to keep each other from getting the money they go to court where a judge played by Dennis Miller forces the hateful pair to live as a married couple under the watchful counseling of some counselor played by Queen Latifah for ninety days. Naturally their days consists of attempting to make each others lives as miserable in the most amusing ways, but then wouldn’t you know it, something strange and wonderful happens along the path to mutual destruction, and that something is called love. I do hope that’s not a spoiler.

Now we do recognize that ‘What Happens in Vegas’ is a Romantic Comedy and as a Romantic Comedy it deviates from convention not one little bit. But the reason that I actually liked this movie is a very simple one in that it made laugh on a very consistent basis, thus leaving me incapable of disliking it even though I really wanted to. First off, though Ashton Kutcher probably isn’t the second coming Marlon Brando, he does do that thing that he does better than just about anyone. What that thing is I can’t put it in words, but it work for wonders him in movies like these, and it doesn’t work for him in movies like ‘The Guardian’. This flick also has Rob Corddry in it who is like a borderline genius in these types of roles and does what he does better that even Ashton Kutcher does what he does. He’s so funny as that stupid romantic comedy friend that future RomCom’s should either cast him in their flick immediately, wait until he’s available or just scrap their movie altogether. Lake Bell was almost as funny as Corddry in this thing plus she was almost as good looking as the female lead which is almost unheard of in these types of flicks. Another reason this film worked for me is that Diaz and Kutcher really seemed to dislike each other for real, and damn if that didn’t shine through and make for some great comedy.

Unfortunately one of the reasons I like this movie is also why the movie ultimately fails as a Romantic Comedy, and this is because when it came time for ‘love’ I never could buy Diaz and Kutcher as legitimate couple. That animosity was certainly there during the bulk of the movie, but when it came time for them to turn that off and really make us believe they actually cared for each other, all I got was a forced sentimentality that came off as completely unauthentic.

But since I don’t really like Romantic Comedies anyway, the fact that Diaz and Kutcher had way more negative chemistry than positive chemistry completely worked for me. It’s almost as if director Tom Vaughan was making a RomCom specifically for me and for this I am grateful.

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