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What Happens in Vegas Happens in Every RomCom

What Happens in Vegas
Directed by Tom Vaughan
Written by Dana Fox
Fox, 2008

The trick the marketers of romantic comedies have to face these days is making the product look like something you’ve never seen before. As we all know, romantic comedies have the exact same structure no matter what kind of gimmick is thrown into the mix. To review: the two leads hate each other, then grow to respect, then love each other, then someone does something stupid, or there is a misunderstanding, before some sort of scramble in the end gets them back together.

So while What Happens in Vegas has this “unique” setup, where unemployed furniture maker Jack (Ashton Kutcher) marries Wall Street shark Joy (Cameron Diaz) after a drunken night in Vegas, and Jack wins $3 million on a slot machine with Joy’s quarter right after talk of a quickie divorce, and the best thing that the judge (Dennis Miller) can do is have them stay married for six months (along with couples conseling from Queen Latifah) or they lose the money…the usual nonsense can be expected to somehow conspire to get these two people to go through the normal hoops of the genre.

More conventions of the genre: the wisecracking, rough-around-the-edges friends. Joy’s BFF is Tipper (Lake Bell) and she’s got a crazy mouth on her, and Jack’s friend is Hater (Rob Corddry, who must have found Hermione’s stopwatch from Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban to appear in all these movies in the past year) and he’s a bit of a wiseass too. With their suggestions, Joy and Jack try to undermine each other and find a way to get the $3 million all to themselves, but at the point the antics seem to get too cruel, well that means you’re in love.

Ultimately, is it funny or overall entertaining? Well, no. It’s very light and has its audience built-in, so there isn’t any attempt at witty dialogue or truly funny situations. Every situation, like when Joy tries to booby trap Jack with a bunch of hot girls coming to his apartment claiming they’ve locked out of their own and were just about to have a party, just feels like no thought was put into it. That scene gets really, really dumb after awhile. Rob Corddry steals the whole movie; it wasn’t really a contest. I will say Kutcher and Diaz both have a couple of funny moments here and there.

But whoever is going to see this is going to see it. I can’t stop you, nor do I really want to. They’ll make more, they always do.

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