Movie Mom

Movie Mom


What Happens in Vegas…

posted by Nell Minow
C
Lowest Recommended Age:Mature High Schooler
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some sexual and crude content, and language,including a drug reference.
Profanity:Strong language including four-letter words
Nudity/Sex:Sexual references and situations, crude and raunchy humor, potty humor
Alcohol/Drugs:Characters get very drunk, drinking, drug reference
Violence/Scariness:Comic peril and violence, crotch hits as humor
Diversity Issues:None
Movie Release Date:May 9, 2008
DVD Release Date:August 26, 2008

A romantic comedy needs to get us on the side of its couple as individuals and on the side of romance. This one fails by giving us characters so crude and unlikeable that even the star wattage of Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher cannot make us care. Most of the movie centers on their attempts to torture each other during a six-month court-ordered period of living together and marital counseling (from Queen Latifah, whose no-nonsense diagnosis of what is wrong should have been applied to the screenplay). The audience may feel that they are being tortured as Joy (Diaz) and Jack (Kutcher) battle over sweaty socks and whether the toilet seat is left up.

what-happens-in-vegas-photos-032408-10.jpgJoy is humiliatingly dumped by her fiancee (SNL’s Jason Sudeikis) in front of all of their friends. Jack is fired by his father (Treat Williams) for not taking the job seriously. They meet when they both take off for Vegas to get away from their disasters. So, of course, they create an even bigger one. They get completely drunk and wake up the next morning married. They quickly agree to an annulment until they win a $3 million jackpot. A judge (Dennis Miller) orders them to live together (“I sentence you to six months hard marriage”) to try to make the marriage work before he will decide how to allocate the money. And so Joy and Jack scheme to get each other to give up, then to give cause for divorce by cheating. And then, just as they begin to appreciate each other, there is time for one more setback.

Screenwriter Dana Fox was also responsible for “The Wedding Date,” which suffered from a similarly ugly premise. Romantic comedies can be sexy, even naughty, but they have to have a charm and buoyancy that is quickly deflated by crude, gross humor. It makes the main characters unlikeable. There is no reason to believe in either their enmity or their growing affection so we never connect to them or care about the outcome. It is supposed to be endearing that this couple gets blind drunk and gets married, that he pees on the dirty dishes in the sink and removes the bathroom door to annoy her, that she shows a cab driver one breast (she negotiates him down from two) to get a free ride. It is not. It is supposed to make sense that Jack’s vulgar jokes endear him to the executives at Joy’s company. It does not. We are supposed to see why Joy and Jack begin to care about each other. We don’t. It isn’t funny enough and it isn’t romantic enough. In other words, what should have stayed in Vegas is this movie.



  • erik

    I hear what you said on KHAK and i think you are crazy what happens in vages is frekin awsome so i dont know whats wrong with your since of humer but it sucks. thats all and disaster movie looks awsome too.

  • Nell Minow

    Erik, I am always happy when someone sees more in a movie than I do. Thanks for writing!

Previous Posts

Gone Girl's Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike delivers a stunning breakthrough performance in this week's "Gone Girl." She's been a favorite of mine for a long time, for her elegant voice and precise acting choices. It's a good

posted 8:00:23am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Telling Time in "All That Jazz"
One of my favorite writers provides insights into one of my favorite (if flawed) movies -- Matt Zoller Seitz created a beautiful video essay about Bob Fosse's autobiographical "All That Jazz" for the Criterion Edition, and then they were unable to use it due to rights problems with the movie clips h

posted 3:19:48pm Sep. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Tomorrow on PBS: The Makers: Comedy
Be sure to tune in to PBS tomorrow night for what is sure to be one of the highlights from one of the all-time best series on PBS: "The Makers," the story of women in America.  Tomorrow's episode is about women in comedy. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CHxHMgSF7UI[/youtube]

posted 8:00:45am Sep. 29, 2014 | read full post »

Tomorrow on HBO: "The Fifty Year Argument" -- Scorsese on The New York Review of Books
Once upon a time, there was no internet. And instead of bloggers and pundits and tweets we had something called public intellectuals, people who read widely, thought deeply, and wrote long, passionate, carefully reasoned, thoroughly documented and beautifully written articles about the important is

posted 3:59:26pm Sep. 28, 2014 | read full post »

FREE Tickets to "The Good Lie" on Sept 30, 2014 in DC!
Based on a true story, "The Good Lie" is about young survivors of the brutal civil war in Sudan, which began in 1983.  These children traveled as many as a thousand miles on foot in search of safety.  Fifteen years later, a humanitarian effort would bring 3600 lost boys and girls to America.  Pla

posted 11:50:22am Sep. 28, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.