Let me save you some time - What Happens In Vegas is a terrible vacuous film, with one of the worst realized concepts in romantic comedies, and a lackluster cast and crew phoning everything in. This one is not worth the time you will spend reading this review. Since I still have a job to do, and for the masochists in us, read on.
There was a time when romantic comedies were the bread and butter of Hollywood, the time when the rat-pack would usher in a dream era of manly men and feisty women, and a story that was as much about the magic of two incredibly attractive actors bantering as it was about selling the dream. Rom-coms now, barely worth the effort to call them in their full unexpanded form, are the bottom of the barrel, the quick money factory produced pap meant to hold their own for two weekends or even one to make money.
What Happens In Vegas is the latter kind of a minimal expectations film. Incredibly enough, the movie manages to fall below even those abysmal standards. Leaving the theatre after a showing of this film is like the aftermath of a bad meal. You know you feel terrible, but the memory of it will haunt you with its lingering aftertaste for quite some time.
Starting off on a high concept doesn't mean a film will deliver, but at the very least it sets a tone. The tone here is set when Joy (Diaz) is dumped, and Jack (Kutcher) is fired. Their best friends take them to Vegas, where they accidentally meet, get drunk and get married. Much like the audience leaving the theatre, Joy and Jack want to purge the horrible memories of that impulsive evening.
Things get complicated because they just won 3 million dollars in a casino the very same evening. The irony here for the poor audience is implicit. In any case, they get back to New York, and a nut job judge sentences them to "six months' hard marriage". The games to make the other person break up the marriage begin because the one making the mistake doesn't get a cent of the 3 million.
Of course, along the way, they go through hilarious moments of rivalry and self-deception, meet wacky characters like Queen Latifah's marriage counselor, and end up falling caps over strap-ons in love with each other. At least that is what the screenplay might have read at concept stage. In execution, the film walks you through a tedious NY couple (that's right, there isn't much of Vegas in here, either) and their shrieky, manipulative and deluded lives as they try and be as bitter as they can in their quest for money and loneliness.
Instead of being witty and breezy, the whole film is made tense and unfunny by the actors themselves. While Cameron Diaz has the ditzy woman bit down pat, though her terribly tanned face exudes zero warmth, and that emotionless smile is easily one of the strongest contenders for Harley Quinn. Ashton Kutcher behaves as though he is still doing Punk'd, which he might as well be, given the sophomore tricks in the script.
Oh dear, the script. The writing is painfully bad, and completely mirthless. When the high point of the script is a character called Richard Banger and the nickname you can derive from that, you can imagine how it all goes downhill from the opening credits.
I can go in great depth about the bad direction, insipid acting and terrible execution, but that is just par for the course for Hollywood rom-coms, isn't it? I hate what they have done with a once glorious genre and how they make me watch the same high concept repeat itself every 2 years or so. If you do decide to watch this one, be warned that you are required to keep your brains at home. Oh, and also your lungs and eyes. All the sighing and the eye-rolling will distract from the experience as well.