Tuesday, 19 October 2010

What Happens in Vegas

Lowdown: A couple has to stay together in order to keep their Vegas prize.
If there is one thing What Happens in Vegas taught me, it was the realization Cameron Diaz’ sense in determining which films she should take part in is not foolproof. Sure, she took part in some bad films, but at least these weren't too dumb. What Happens in Vegas, though, is a tour de force in the field of mediocre cinema.
Typical of mediocrity, the plot is nothing we haven’t seen before as well as senseless. As per the norms of the Vegas sub genre, the film involves too lacklustre characters from New York (Diaz and Ashton Kutcher) who meet in Vegas, get drunk, and then get marries while drunk. The morning after they agree on their mutual foolishness, but then – quite coincidentally (too much so, actually) – they win three million dollars at the jackpot. How are they to divide it? Well, the judge they went to seek help from decrees they have to try to be happily married for six months before they can even smell the money, which opens the gates for scenes of one being obnoxious to the other in order for that other to leave and leave the money behind. Greed is the word. Quality cinema this might have been if it was actually funny; instead it’s pathetic.
Other than all the regular trademarks of films made by the marketing department (in this case, the marketing department wanted a romcom with familiar sexy faces/bodies), my biggest problem with What Happens in Vegas has to do with the ideologies it personifies. It never occurs to our couple to just split their winnings and go their separate ways; no, they have to go to a judge and make a movie long effort to take the whole plunder home. Second, the film documents Diaz’ efforts to get herself promoted with her cutthroat Wall Street company, efforts that are all to do with sucking up to the boss and nothing to do with being good at work; and everyone else around accepts that this is exactly the way things should be. Eventually, she secures the promotion because of… her lovely husband, of course. Go, feminism!
Thought misogyny is the worst What Happens in Vegas has to offer? I’d say there’s a slight stench of racism, too. Why is Diaz’ promotion competition the only non Anglo Saxon face in the film? Is it because it is easier for “us” to hold something against someone of Far Eastern appearance?
Worst scene: You think you’ve seen it all but then a live performing singer at an event starts singing Flashdance and our heroes dance. I think that was the only time I actually laughed during the film.
Overall: Very badly tasting at 1.5 out of 5 stars.

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