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October 17, 2008
What Happens in Vegas Blu-Ray Movie Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
3/4/200822/10/2008FoxTom Vaughan
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1MCameron Diaz /
Ashton Kutcher

THE MOVIE
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Guess who won the 3 million dollars?

Ahhh, another romantic comedy. No matter how poorly they do critically they do tend to do well on a financial level. With two of Hollywood's hottest stars headlining this movie how could it fail?

After the wildest party night of their lives, two mismatched strangers, Jack (Ashton Kutcher) and Joy (Cameron Diaz), wake up in Vegas to discover they not only got lucky — they got married! The road to annulment takes a hilarious turn after Jack wins a three-million-dollar jackpot while playing Joy's quarter and a no-nonsense judge (Dennis Miller) sentences them to six months "hard marriage". What follows is an all-out war of the sexes as Jack and Joy go to outrageous lengths to try and cheat each other out of the money. But in the end, they may learn that when you gamble on love, you just might win, against all odds!

If you've ever seen a romantic comedy then you will likely be able to predict much of the storyline and certainly the ending well before the key plot points arise. It's that predictable. As my wife says though, romantic comedies aren't all about the predictability, but rather the characters, comedic moments, and storyline. In that regard this movie has the right ingredients including some very likable characters who you root for, as well as a few funny moments - but not as many as I would have thought, and certainly not moments that give you those big belly laughs (and yes, on me, that is a big belly!).

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Ashton and Cameron have on-screen chemistry.
As I mentioned both the actors - Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher - as well as the characters they play - Joy and Jack - are very likable. In fact, that is large part of the problem with this movie. Each character is too likable and, despite the fact that each tries to 'force' the other to cheat and not be faithful in the marriage or to leave the marriage and forgo the money, they are never really as 'nasty' as you would expect. Hire some strippers to try and get him to be unfaithful, remove the bathroom door to make her upset. Big deal. If you want to see a movie where people actually, really hate each other then check out the hilarious War of the Roses with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner. It's vastly superior to this movie.

Why then don't I rip into this movie and give it a terrible score? Well, it's because the actors, and characters they portray in this movie, really are likable and there are indeed some rather funny moments. If you can forget the absolutely laughable idea that a judge would force two people to remain married before they can split up the money, What Happens In Vegas turns out to be a moderately entertaining way to waste a couple of hours.

VIDEO
Presented in 1080p at the films original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 this AVC MPEG-4 encoded movie looks quite impressive. With a runtime of just on 100 minutes this is a pretty short movie and as a result this 50GB allows the movie to retain a pretty high bitrate - often well into the mid-30Mbps area. As with most HD presentation the detail level is impressive from the actors skins, to distant objects. The scenes in Las Vegas are extremely busy, but the compression handles this with ease.

Unfortunately while this is a bright, colourful film, there were some scenes which seemed over saturated with colour giving the actors a reddish tint to their skin. Also disappointing was that there was the occasional film artifact on the print, but they were extremely minor, and unobtrusive. While it's not up to the best efforts we've seen on Blu-Ray this is a passable effort, but certainly much better then the DVD release.

AUDIO
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Your typical Vegas wedding - drunk!

A movie such as this doesn't really need a monster soundtrack, but Fox have again provided a wonderful English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track. The audio clarity on this release is superb. While a bit front heavy, there is some use of the directional channels, particularly in the scenes in Las Vegas. Much of the movie though is dialogue driven so while crystal clear, this isn't a movie you would use to demonstrate the sound quality of your system, or Blu-Ray as a format. Still, we can't mark this down too far due to the nature of the movie can we...

There are two other audio tracks available on this Blu-Ray release, an English Descriptive Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track encoded at 448kbps as well as a German DTS 5.1 encoded at 768kbps. The English track seems quite a bit duller in its audio presentation compared to the main track - no doubt due to the massive reduction in bitrate, but the German track is quite impressive. Subtitles are available in English for the Hearing Impaired and German and are available for the feature movie as well as the commentary. Both timing and accuracy of these subtitles are great.

EXTRAS
What Happens In Vegas includes a few extras, but little of any real substance. Fortunately the extras are all presented in HD unlike many other Fox releases which is a nice change, although it appears the Australian release has lost a Java based drinking game which appeared on the US release.

Audio Commentary by Director Tom Vaughan and Editor Matthew Friedman: Commentaries are meant to be informative, as well as entertaining, but unfortunately while there is some interesting info here it isn't very lively, and actually rather boring. A commentary only for the die-hard fans that must know more about the production of this film.

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Eating popcorn in What Happens in Vegas.
Gag Reel (5:05/HD): Just your typical series of fluffed lines and goofing around on the set.

Deleted and Extended Scenes (7:52/HD): Six deleted or extended (three of each) scenes are presented here in great quality and certainly with enough quality that could have easily been put back into the movie.

From the law firm of Stephen J. Hader, Esq. (2:42/HD): A spoof add with one of the divorce attorney's from the movie. Quite amusing. The weird thing is at the end of the add there's a legal not "Available now on Blu-Ray: The Transporter". Ermmm, strange??

DVD extra time with Zach Galifianakis (8:20/HD): Basically an interview with the director about directing, and making this movie. More 'jokey' then serious unfortunately.

Sitting down with Cameron and Ashton (8:26/HD): Cameron and Ashton have a chat about Las Vegas, dating, and getting married in Vegas. Doesn't really relate to to the movies production, but is somewhat entertaining.

Easter Egg (1:34/HD): Hunt around the disc, we've found one Easter Egg to date, but there may be more. The one Easter Egg we found was a scene which had to be altered to get the movie a PG-13 rating in America.

OVERALL
What Happens In Vegas is a fairly amusing movie and one which will keep fans of the genre entertained. There's better movies, but this looks and sounds great on Blu-Ray so check it out if you get a chance.

Review By: Dave Warner

THE MOVIE
6/10
THE VIDEO
7/10
THE AUDIO
8/10
THE EXTRAS
4/10
OVERALL
6/10

Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Fox. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.