Tom Leezak (Ashton Kutcher) is a late night radio traffic reporter on the graveyard shift and Sarah McNerney (Brittany Murphy) is a spoilt, free-spirited writer whose family is as wealthy as it is snobbish. But when Tom and Sarah meet, they quickly fall in love and soon they want to get married. Sarah’s parents try to dissuade her – her father (David Rasche) and mother (Veronica Cartwright) both hoped she would marry her ex boyfriend Peter Prentis (Christian Kane), who is deemed eminently more suitable than Tom. But nothing can deter the (slightly accident prone) lovebirds, who get married and set off for their European honeymoon with the highest of hopes about their ideals of love and marriage.
Review by Louise Keller:
Whether you’re married or not, this honeymoon in hell is sure to prompt knowing chuckles all round. After all, anyone who has ever had a relationship, or known anyone who has had a relationship will relate to this comedy of errors about two young marrieds who see the down side of marriage, before they have a chance to sample its delights.
The opening sequence sets the scene perfectly. Here are the newly weds, straight off the plane from Venice, making a hysterical public display at the airport because they just can’t stand each other. Opposites attract, they say. Well, it doesn’t take long for all those (once endearing) qualities to become irritating liabilities. I laughed until I cried – it’s the pain that the characters are suffering that we relate to. After all, it’s only funny when it happens to someone else.
Much of the success of the film lies in the performances of the two leads, who are compelling opposites and scene stealers to boot. Ashton Kutcher is wonderfully likeable, with a tousled Josh Hartnett kind of appeal, but it’s his natural flair for comedy that makes watching him a treat. Brittany Murphy is a lovely surprise – after watching her in complex, serious roles (such as Promise Not To Tell and 8 Mile) – her bubbly personality and energetic comedic style comes unexpectedly. And together – he is tall, she is short - they milk every delightful second for all its worth.
So as the disenchanted groom waits to have Budweiser therapy with his mate, we relive the day on the beach when he meets Sarah, the response of her snobbish, disapproving father (‘Why do bad things happen to good people?’), her gushing mother (‘Call me Pussy’), and every uproarious moment of their honeymoon, when one misadventure rolls into another. A sudden impulse trying consummate their marriage in the plane rest room ends up with a foot getting stuck in the toilet bowl and a broken nose for a flight attendant. But then it gets worse. Eviction from the five star Hotel of Dreams (the scene when Tom tries to make the plug for a sex toy fit into the two-prong European power point is a hoot), confinement in a snowball, a night in gaol, cockroaches in bed at a shoddy Venice pension and fighting pigeons in St Marco will give you an idea of what to expect.
It’s escapism with a dose of truth, coloured by a bright and breezy soundtrack that will make your toes tap. The humour is a combination of slapstick, one-liners (‘I went to day care in a pool hall’) and dashes of farce. The outcome is a foregone conclusion, but it’s the fun and the charm of the ride that offers a light hearted escapade that touches on all the hard work required to fill in the gaps between the happy snaps.
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JUST MARRIED (PG)
CAST: Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Murphy, Peter Prentis, Christian Kane, David Moscow, Monet Mazur, David Rasche, Veronica Cartwright, Thad Luckinbill
PRODUCER: Robert Simonds
DIRECTOR: Shawn Levy
SCRIPT: Sam Harper
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Jonathan Brown
EDITOR: Scott Hill, Don Zimmerman
MUSIC: Christophe Beck
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Nina Ruscio
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Fox
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: February 20, 2003
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