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  Publicity Stills of
"What Happens In Vegas"
(Courtesy from 20th Century Fox)

Director: Tom Vaughan
Cast: Cameron Diaz, Ashton Kutcher, Rob Corddry, Lake Bell, Michelle Krusiec, Dennis Farina, Krysten Ritter, Jason Sudeikis, Queen Latifah, Zach Galifianakis
RunTime: 1 hr 39 mins
Released By: 20th Century Fox
Rating: PG
Official Website: http://www.whathappensinvegasmovie.com/

Opening Day: 8 May 2008


Set in Sin City, the storyline revolves around two strangers who wake up to discover they got married sometime during the previous night's drunken festivities, with one of them winning a huge jackpot on the other's quarter. The couple set out to undermine each other and claim the coin, only to fall in love along the way.

Movie Review:

Catch What Happens in Vegas and you'll probably be watching the romantic comedy of the year. Cameron Diaz turns in a charming, dazzling performance that oozes class and camp at the same time, while Ashton Kutcher is finally cast in the right spot - a boyish, puppy dog role that eases him into a role of easy-going, nonchalant attractiveness, playing a more subordinate role that Kutcher manages much better. Vegas avoids many horrible pitfalls and cliches that plague saccharine sweet and cookie-cutter rom-com flicks, while staying absolutely honest to the two stars' innate, personal charm instead of stuffing them into ill-fitted, scripted roles. Yes, regardless of what everyone else might think or say, only guys who have possess little interest or inclination for a good rom-com will thrash this film.

Diaz plays Joy, a outspoken, independent woman who loves her boyfriend faultlessly but fails to read his real, inner mind. During a surprise party, she is unceremoniously dumped by him while all their friends lay hidden behind/under furniture, listening in to the entire event. Her love life eventually crashes and burns, leading her to the utter lackadaisical bum of a person, Jack.

Kutcher plays Jack to a T. He's lazy, doesn't clean his place, bums around with a whole bunch of his mates knowing little of what he wants in life. He and his attitude conspire to get him fired from a furniture by a company who's boss is his very own dad. Jack meets his best friend for a drink in the bar and director Tom Vaughan (or his editors), pulls off a cleverly edited scene which could easily have fallen flat as Jack and Joy simultaneously decide in Vegas while moping in different bars.

What sealed the Vegas deal was how the two characters used Diaz and Kutcher brilliantly. We see Diaz's campy yet wild-child club-dancing inner child manifested in a outspoken yet innately insecure woman, finding her match through the most unlikely of ways after a one night stand and when subsequently her penny, slotted in by Kutcher's Jack, wins the casino jackpot. Jack doesn't try to win her over, neither does Joy show any long term interest in him and the irritation shown by the two seemed irrepressibly genuine and not over the top.

Vegas is made more fun by Rob Corddry and Lake Bell, both of whom play best pals of Jack and Joy respectively and serve a a foil couple that brings out the best in the two lead characters. The beer guzzling, stupid-idea pushing best pal and a social butterfly wannabe friend who gives her crazy advice cross swords themselves in a similar love hate relationship. Look out for that excellent scene where Corddry's character punches and beats up Kutcher, who later hams it up hilariously, sobbing in front of the marriage counsellor feigning trauma of abuse. Diaz sits indifferent and smiling before pulling out her Blackberry clip of the bumbling guys mucking it up on the streets. Kutcher's look of embarrassed resignation was priceless.

Director Vaughan pulls out all the calling cards of a rom-com movie but makes it so genuinely fun you feel you've rediscovered the fun in popcorn stuffing laugh it out loud comedies with your girlfriend. The stereotypes and issues addressed are poignant, not cliched. Where we are resigned to seeing one stale moment of rom-com joke per quarter of an hour, Santa Vaughan stuffs our comedy stocking full of Easter egg nuances, behavioural quirks and subtle bells and whistles that scream a undemanding, enjoyable ride.

Lastly, What Happens in Vegas is indeed a cheeky aside at Britney's Vegas mess-up but surely this is the classiest attempt at mockery ever. Vaughan avoids overt references via dialogue and the main chunk of the movie revolves so much around the roller-coaster fun between Joy and Jack that the idea itself becomes an complimentary icing on the cake. The drunk, insane wedding clip at the end of the show and Kutcher's insinuating criticism of Diaz during their quarrels makes you kick your heels in delight that you've found one of those directors who don't take the audience for intellectually challenged fools who cannot appreciate subtlety.

Guys, put aside your machismo-tinted classes and enjoy this four popcorn tubs full of fun!

Movie Rating:

(What Happens in Vegas hits the small-thrills jackpot of fun)

Review by Daniel Lim


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