JUST MARRIED

PG-13
Reviews

Boy meets girl, boy marries girl, boy and girl honeymoon with near-fatal consequences. This is the premise of Sam Harper's joke-a-minute script that features two of today's most promising actors, Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy. There is something for everyone here--bathroom humor, sexual innuendos as subtle as stampeding elephants, visual gags galore, but what sets Just Married above standard fare is the fact that every character has a bit of nastiness in them. This does much to counteract the saccharine atmosphere that often cloys even the best-intentioned honeymoon comedies. The knockabout farce, while clearly pitched to the younger generation, may amuse a few old codgers in the 20 to 30-year range as well.

Tom Leezak (Kutcher) is a radio traffic reporter who has no interest in marriage when he falls in love with Sarah McNerney (Murphy), the youngest daughter of a wealthy businessman (the inimitable David Rasche). After living together for nine months, the two young lovers marry in an elaborate ceremony and take off for the Swiss Alps.

The first observation made by the penny-pinching Tom, observing a line of black-clad sisters outside their destination, a century-old castle, is, "It comes with free nuns!" Maybe it's a guy thing, but he arrogantly ignores Sarah's warning about the difference between American and European electrical circuits, with disastrous results. Having caused the entire castle to black out, Tom gets into a fight with the owner. He and Sarah are given the boot, and must drive their ludicrous yellow car through the snow-drenched Alps to Italy. The car does not survive, but they manage to make it to Venice, where their once-polite arguments escalate into a full-scale battle. Complicating matters is the fact that Sarah runs into her onetime fianc Peter Prentiss (Christian Kane), who is still carrying a torch for her. Tom, on his part, inadvertently picks up a hot tamale named Wendy (Valeria), who sexually assaults him in his hotel room. He manages to toss her out, but not before she has left her red bra in bed, thus giving Sarah cause for blunt suspicion, not to mention extreme indignation.

The honeymooners return to the U.S. as mortal enemies, physically and verbally combative. Only people who have loved each other so passionately can hate, and hurt, so convincingly. All seems lost, but perhaps true love and the compassion of basically good-natured friends and family will find a way. Still, it is primarily due to the chemistry of Kutcher and Murphy that we worry whether the marriage survives or not. Under the energetic direction of Shawn (Big Fat Liar) Levy, the pandemonium is never so chaotic that we stop caring about the beautiful couple who pledged to love each other for the rest of their lives.

--Bruce Feld