5.16.2008

Three Reasons You Might Enjoy What Happens in Vegas (Seriously)

One day every year I try to be a good son, which is how I found myself sitting in What Happens in Vegas on Mother’s Day. While I never expected to see the film, I wasn’t surprised to see a herd of couples in the theater grazing on milk duds and licorice (this was a “date movie” if I ever saw one). However, for a film banking on the sex appeal of two young hotties (Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz, who are forced to endure a sham marriage to split 3 mil in Vegas winnings), the audience was unusually… well seasoned. Even during the previews I could still make out the tap tap of white nursing shoes and the rustling of hairy knuckles reaching for popcorn.

This is an awful poster. I promise the film contains fewer expressions of douchebaggery

My geriatric peeps got pretty rowdy once the film began and, surprisingly enough, I laughed just as much because What Happens in Vegas wasn’t half bad. Low expectations may have fueled some of my enjoyment but the film deserves at least a couple bars of kudos.

Here then are a few reasons you too might enjoy What Happens in Vegas.

Kelso stars in Vegas in spirit only

Ashton Kutcher"That 70s Show" ended with a whimper a couple of years ago, but during its heyday the sitcom mined plenty of laughs from its I-wish-I-were-that-clever teenage snarkfest and, more often than not, Kutcher’s gray matter-challenged Michael Kelso was on the receiving end of the snarking (burned!). In Vegas, Ashton takes a Kelso-like character to the big screen, albeit an older and (slightly) more intelligent version – a Kelso 2.0 if you will. Kutcher makes the transition work by restraining his penchant for overacting and lets the steady stream of amusing (if not hilarious) scenes do the heavy lifting.

Sidekicks done right
Rob Corddry was atrocious in Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, forced to push a one-laugh gag (if that) as an idiotic government agent to nearly half an hour of screen time (or maybe it just felt that way). This time Corddry plays Ashton Kutcher’s lawyer friend who bears a gratifying resemblance to his obtuse and playfully combative Daily Show correspondent persona. Less is more for comedic sidekicks and Corddry stays scarce enough to keep his bald-headed brand of humor golden. Also, wait past the credits for Lake Bell’s best contribution to the film. You’ll know what I’m talking about.

Surprisingly Touching Moments – The script putters itself into the cringe-worthy practice of describing relationships in gambling terms (“I’m ready to bet on you”) but I give props to screenwriter Dana Fox for including believable “aha” moments where the main stars begin that gushy slide into mutual attraction. I don’t want to spoil any major developments (not that you won’t see everything coming) but the courtship is refreshingly chaste and gives more credibility to the budding romance than the average rom-com.

Plastic sofa covers are like bling for your living room

Whatever Happens in Vegas is an excellent “date movie” and also, apparently, an awesome break from shopping for plastic sofa covers. But even if you don’t fit into those categories you now have three reasons to check it out. And now for my obligatory shout-out for the Large Association of Movie Blogs, where movie-goers both young and decrepit are always welcome.

9 comments:

Sarah said...

I was hoping for a ten word review as well!
Sounds like a good rainy day/dang Iron Man is sold out, kind of movie!

nick plowman said...

I think I want to see this. It opens in SA today.

Jennifer said...

That was so nice of you to go to the movies with your mom. Thats the great thing about Mothers Day, you have no choice. I write about parent and teens bonding over pop culture (although it applies to 20s as well) at http://connectwithyourteens.blogspot.com/
and this was a great example.

WaywardJam said...

Spot On Matt! I think I had the exact same sentiments as you about this.

Low expectations yield positive results and Rob Corddry's redeeming turn as the pompous friend is just icing on the cake.

Fletch said...

Why were you on a date with your Mom? Ew.

;)

patrick said...

most of the chick flicks i've seen with Ashton Kutcher have been at least halfway decent, A Lot Like Love is one example

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watch movies said...

Wow. These points are enough to make one's determination stronger to catch out this movie. I am also very excited too and will rent a DVD to enjoy this movie tonight.