Remember the heyday of of the romantic comedy. It usually headlined Tom Hanks with Meg Ryan, or Tom Hanks with… okay let’s just leave it at that on-screen duo.

What we get with “What Happens in Vegas” is Ashton Kutcher (That 70’s show, Butterfly Effect) paired with Cameron Diaz (Shrek, Charlie’s Angles) in an absurdly contrived predicament worthy of a mid-season replacement sit-com.

Jack Fuller, recently fired by his father, has no financial prospects and no discernible skills so his bald (and much funnier) friend Hater (Rob Corddry; The Daily Show) convinces him to go to Las Vegas. Across town Joy McNally (Diaz) plans a surprise birthday party for her fiance who dumps her just before the “surprise!” After a few rounds of shots her friend, Tipper (Lake Bell), convinces she needs to go to Vegas.

The two duos end up double booked into the same room mistakenly and after an informal introduction, and resolution of the situation the four head off to party it up Vegas style. A drunken debauchery montage later and we find Diaz in bed suddenly aware that she married this looser the night before. After attempting to break up their slot machine hits the jackpot and suddenly a quickie Brittney Spears style divorce becomes more complected. Attempting to get a divorce the judge (Dennis Miller; SNL, Joe Dirt) creatively sentences them to be married.

What did I tell you about the sit-com premise?

Kutcher, as expected is flat. He’s there mostly as eye-candy, if it were not for the stylist keeping Cameron Diaz looking her best, he might be the prettiest thing in the movie.

Diaz clearly out-acts Kutcher and while a better actor, doesn’t get the best punchlines. She is definitely more focused on the romantic in this romantic-comedy.  Also, at times the scripted lines come across as forced for both actors thus further watering down the performances.

The comedy is driven primarily by a series of montages and the secondary cast, Corddry and Bell. Corddry is exceptional and his star is rising. Expect him to find his true outlet as America’s next George Costanza.

One of the film’s biggest crimes was to not utilize Dennis Miller to the extent of his comedic genius. Having him ad-lib and his role with a few of his trademark similes would have brought a few more laughs, not to mention expand the audience’s vocabulary, while counter-balance the gravity of his plot-driving scenes.

The parallels to the sitcom go past the premise. This is expected as Television has been the primary medium of Director Tom Vaughn. While the script is efficient and more mainstream than that of a Judd Apatow (40-Year-Old-Virgin, Knocked Up) film, it also lacks Apatow’s trademark emotional depth and trial of protagonist.

The movie is rated PG-13 for some mild swearing and surprisingly few sexual situations. Again definitely NOT a Judd Apatow film.

“What Happens in Vegas” is fun. It’s not award winning film making, but it’s a decent popcorn munching date-movie.

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