A buttoned-up stockbroker gets dumped by her high-powered boyfriend. Across town,
apparently in another movie,
a slacker gets fired by his own dad. What do these characters have in common?
Nothing, except that they both decide that Vegas is
the cure for what ails them. While in Sin City, they meet, hook-up, get married in a
drunken haze, and regret it
when they wake up in the morning. No problem, except that before they can get
an annulment, they end up winning a three million dollar jackpot, and their
marriage makes the money community property.
"That's not a premise for a film," you're thinking. "Let
them split the
money down the middle, after subtracting nine bucks to refund my ticket."
You're right - up to a point - but the next development is a high concept
premise that creates a movie (sort of): a weird judge decides that
neither of them will get a penny unless they try six months of marriage, so
they have to learn how to be better human beings ... and maybe, eventually, they
will really fall in love.
Gee, d'ya think?
It's a formulaic romantic comedy. Boy meets girl, loses girl, goes through
period of extreme stress, gets girl back, as well as his own soul. Everything
transpires in front of wisecracking sidekicks. It's your basic Rob Lowe / Demi
Moore movie from 1986 with a few twists and a younger cast. The Demi Moore
connection is intact, however, since the male lead is none other than Ms.
boy-toy husband, Ashton Kutcher. Cameron Diaz plays Demi's role, while the Jim Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins roles are played by Rob Corddry and a certain
Lake Bell, who is apparently a female person and not a body of water.
You can measure the film fairly accurately by the difference between the
IMDb score and the Yahoo score. The IMDb film snobs treated it with contempt,
but the average Joes at Yahoo scored it a B.
As I se it, "Vegas"
is not especially better or worse than the usual Hollywood mainstream rom-com fluff. In fact,
it's probably a cut above the usual McConaughey/Hudson material. The
film's great weakness is that the comical sidekicks are not quite comical
enough. OK. I admit it, I actually like James Belushi's "regular Chicago guy"
character, and I think Belushi does the sardonic sidekick better than Rob
Corddry. Of course, that's faint praise. John Ashcroft is probably a funnier
sidekick than Corddry. The
movie is not helped by the fact that Ashton Kutcher still needs those acting
lessons which Cameron Crowe once offered him, but the audience comes to like
and root for the main characters, and cheers for them to get together, so that
makes the film work on its own terms.