A review of “Just Married” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: ** 1/2

Rating: PG-13 for language, sexual content

Run Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

 

 

“Just Married” is spared a straight-to-video burial by virtue of a charming performance by Ashton Kutcher (“That 70s Show”) and a goofy premise rife with comic possibilities. 

Kutcher is Tom, a prototypical California slacker who’s trying to make it as a radio personality.  Sadly, his one-day-a-week gig covering L.A. traffic (on the graveyard shift no less) isn’t getting the job done.  While tossing the pigskin around on the beach with his buddies, Tom encounters Sarah (Brittany Murphy), the spirited daughter of a wealthy sports mogul.  It’s lust at first sight for the young lovers, who decide that marriage is just what the doctor ordered.

Naturally, Sarah’s family opposes the union, assuming she can do better.  But Tom and Sarah snub their nay-sayers by tying the knot and taking off for a fantasy European honeymoon, with a breezy au revoir and loads of cheerful optimism.

Farewell responsibility, hello honeymoon from hell. Murphy’s Law states that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. From the moment they take to the skies, Tom and Sarah are plagued by the curse of the European vacation.  Nasty flight attendants, spiteful electrical outlets, doll-sized compact cars, and a snooty continental attitude. Not to mention Sarah’s pesky ex, the one who let her get away and coincidentally turns up at Tom and Sarah’s Venice hotel.

Everything about this Generation X vehicle shouldn’t work.  It’s poorly edited, badly directed, and chock full of unseasoned performances.  The wedding sequence hints at ribald incidents that clearly ended up on the cutting room floor. Murphy and Kutcher are an unexpected delight, though - soaring just under the radar with a sparkling chemistry that’s full tilt while at love and at war.

  From ka-ching! to kerchunk, the gags are all over the map. But the laughs are genuine and the climax sincere enough to warrant a big-screen watch.