Jack Fuller (Ashton Kutcher, "A Lot Like Love," "The Guardian") is a commitmentphobe whose own father (Treat Williams, TV's "Everwood") fires him from the family business. Joy McNally (Cameron Diaz, "In Her Shoes," "The Holiday") is dumped by fiance Mason (Jason Sudeikis, TV's SNL, "Semi-Pro") within hearing of all the guests she's gathered for his surprise birthday party. Both are convinced by friends to take a recuperative trip but neither can quite believe "What Happens in Vegas."
The second produced script by "The Wedding Date" scribe Dana Fox can shockingly be called a sophomore slump - it is more contrived, less funny and certainly less romantic that her first not very good movie. This shrill and unlikable comedy features a Cameron Diaz who looks like she's been left out in the sun too long and the good looking Kutcher made unappealing by slovenly and juvenile character traits. This one should clearly have stayed in Vegas.
Fuller and his buddy Hater (Rob Corddry, "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay") get pie-eyed before they discover they've been double booked into the same room as the showering McNally and her abrasive gal pal Tipper (Lake Bell, TV's "Miss Match," "Boston Legal"). One dare later and Jack and Joy are partying like there's no tomorrow. The next day they agree their quickie marriage was a mistake, until, that is, Jack plays Joy's last quarter in a slot machine that pays off $3 mil. Back home in New York, Judge Whopper (Dennis Miller) (is Fox kidding with these names? I'm surprised she didn't name Joy Jill...) sentences the two to six months of 'hard marriage' before he'll even consider ruling on the rights to the money.
Hilarity should ensue, but instead we're given a series of nasty one upmanships in Jack's frat boy apartment alleviated with weekly visits to a marriage counselor played by Queen Latifah (part of Whopper's ruling). There's a side plot about Joy's boss - are you ready? - Dick Banger (Dennis Farina, TV's "Law & Order") and his decision as to whether he will promote Jill or her killjoy colleague Chong (Michelle Krusiec, "Saving Face") up from the NYSE trading floor. Joy uses Jack's parents openly, he uses her ex-fiance surreptitiously. Of course, in the end, they figure out they're perfect for each other, but not before things seem irrevocably ruined.
Fox's script doesn't even make sense in places. The couple who get on like wildfire after a few cocktails cannot talk when sober. Jack half heartedly begins to enact a revenge plot at Joy's work retreat without having gotten the document signed that was the plot's reason for being. Joy loses all interest in her half of the fortune after Jack rekindles Mason's interest in her. Huh?
Director Tom Vaughan ("Starter for 10") lets his stars behave like spoiled children who aren't remotely funny. Even production values are subpar. "What Happens in Vegas" is surely one of the ugliest looking mainstream films in quite some time. One scene where romance may have had a chance is so awkwardly blocked I couldn't concentrate on the 'will they or won't they' moment because the hotel room door they'd just come through had been so obviously been left wide open in the prior shot.
"What Happened in Vegas" has nothing to recommend it but the sight of Ashton Kutcher in a pink boa wearing a yard long glass in a cocktail sling. And that's over and done with pretty early.
Robin gives "What Happens in Vegas" an F.
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