Just Married

February 27th, 2003 Film, Film Reviews, Xpress

Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Murphy

Directed by Shawn Levy

It’s a curious merging of genres as the classic modern romantic comedy meets American Pie and it’s contemporaries of the teenage comedy slant, and the result both works and doesn’t.

It works because if you don’t like your romance too sugary and sappy, the sweet moments of heartfelt realisation and tears are kept to a minimum and the script sets up plenty of surprisingly good gags.

But it also doesn’t work because the whole thing feels like the result of three or four scripts and premises have been blended like a cinematic dacquiri. It often lurches uncomfortably between Hollywood archetypes without ever having a clear point.

We meet Tom and Sarah hurrying home through an airport, both of them obviously enraged at each other. It straight away makes us wonder what happened to the very-much-in-love couple in the poster and sets up the premise of the film — how they got to this point having just been married.

The film is then a single long flashback from when they met until they got off the plane from their own honeymoon hating each other. It chronicles their bad luck, mistrust, uncertainty, expectations and desires in a light hearted way that serves mostly to heightens the slapstick until expected climax, where both realise the requisite Hollywood truths about love.

Supporting characters and sequences tend to drift in and out of obscure orbits around the couple, making you wonder more than once if there’ll be a deeper involvement in their surroundings than there is. Motivations are never quite clear and the plot rambles onto strange tangents but hey, this isn’t Truffaut or Kubrick — the laughs come thick and fast and that what you’ll be paying your money for.

Kutcher brings a sort of forced party-guy charisma to the role of Tom, but just like the Bill & Ted memories Keanu Reeves prompts whenever he appears on screen, you’ll find yourself thinking back to Dude, Where’s My Car?

Almost unrecognisable from her portrayal as 8 Mile’s opportunistic rap groupie slapper is star-on-the-rise Brittany Murphy. Her dopey, cutesy schtick makes her a sort of Generation X Meg Ryan, and at times it will grate on you.

But together, the two are the unchallenged stars of the movie and share a unique physical and comedic chemistry that’s great fun to watch and was obviously great fun putting together.

Just Married is the filmed equivalent of a funny but stupid email joke — there are a lot worse ways to get a few laughs.

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