ENTERTAINMENT/FILM

An Urban Review Of
“What Happens In Vegas”

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS (PG-13)

MOVIE BIASES
Vegas is awesome! The commercials are not!

MAJOR PLAYERS
Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher

LOGLINE
After a drunken night of good old fashioned Las Vegas hedonism, unemployed action junkie Jack (Kutcher), and repressed control freak Joy (Diaz) wind up getting married, hitting a three million dollar slot machine jackpot, and fighting for the money in divorce court. The decree? “Six months of hard marriage,” where the unhappy couple must live together, undergo marital counseling, and survive each other’s backstabbing attempts to get the other to void the marriage and so that they may take down all the money.

THE DEAL
I did not see this coming. Despite a formulaic, sitcom-y setup that appeared destined to be a bad remake mishmash of “The Odd Couple” and “War of the Roses,” “Vegas” shirks its bomb-in-waiting facade for downright hilarious rom-com appeal.

Zestfully directed by Tom Vaughan (Starter for 10), this “Vegas” revels in its titular bastion of debauchery during the whirligig of a first act, loses its way a little when it gets too slapsticky in the second, but drives home all the predictable beats in the third act and throughout with a fresh, relentlessly entertaining style.

Supported by the boundary-less Rob Corddry (please, sir, put your pants back ON) and Lake Bell’s molten charmlessness (the anti-chemistry between these leads’ best friends resonates with an endearing vulgarity), Kutcher and Diaz make for a surprisingly cute couple AND comedy team.

You know man-boy Ashton Kutcher leans into his role as a lovable, ambition-challenged slob like a fastball down the middle. Surprising me most is Cameron Diaz, perhaps the most shape-free, covert Latina actress in Hollywood. For all you Cameron fans, this movie reminds you that this is one good-looking woman. For all the rest of you (us disinterested Cameron rubber-neckers), this movie reminds you that whatever she is in, Diaz throws herself into it with full force. “There’s Something About Mary” only worked because of Mary/Diaz is as selfless a comedienne as you will find for an actress that fine. I guess that’s why I was taken aback by her sexy moments when her comedic ones work so well.

That same astonishment applies to this movie. At risk of sounding like a network shill of a critic, “I laughed throughout ‘What Happens in Vegas’!” (Okay, if I’m gonna shill, lemme do it right: Add two more exclamation points - !!). Fellas, just because your girl really wants to see it doesn’t mean that this is a chick flick.

She just happens to have decent taste and more faith in the studio system than you may have (you’re with her for SOME reason, right?). Make sure to stay through the end credits of this one, too. More than I would’ve ever thought, there’s a lot happening in “Vegas.”

@@@ REELS

(THREE REELS)

It’s pretty hot - go give it a shot.

Edwardo Jackson is the author of the novels EVER AFTER and NEVA HAFTA, (Villard/Random House), a writer for The 213 Magazine, and an LA-based screenwriter. Visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com where his new novel I DO? is available NOW.


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