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Click for full sized poster

Just Married

Starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy
Written by Sam Harper
Directed by Shawn Levy
website: www.justmarriedmovie.com

IN SHORT: The funniest movie of the year . . . [Rated PG-13. 95 minutes]

Just Married is also the first comedy out of the chute in the year A.D. 2003. We'd change the print in this font to something dripping, as in dripping with sarcasm, because that's how the sentence is intended. Old farts, meaning anyone older than x-teen, stay away. Then again, if you don't know the stars, you already have a damn good reason to stay away from Just Married.

Take one up and coming film star and one major sitcom actor and put 'em in a sitcom blowed up to big screen size (that means a lot of set damage and body damage and the occasional "Wow! We're in Europe! Look at the scenery!" shots) and you've got Just Married: a sitcom blowed up to big screen size and so desperate for laughs that, well, the National Lampoon magazine did it thirty years ago -- which means it's fair game to recycle a gag that basically goes: "Laugh. Or we'll kill this dog."

That joke was funny when we were fifteen and it may be funny to any fifteen year old planting for this thing that calls itself a movie. We haven't been fifteen for years and Just Married isn't funny, even as a get ripped and rent it flick. Just Married would have been even more painful had we been ripped since it takes too damned long to get to anything even remotely as funny as the laffs of the dog gag. What follows the dog is an hour plus of "let's try to accidentally hurt and or kill each other on our Honeymoon From Hell" before the inevitable, desperate attempt at reconciliation. Actually, the events that lead up to that reconciliation are the only funny moments in the movie almost fully described in the last sentence -- we left out the ex-boyfriend () that mysteriously turns up on each honeymoon stop and the genre-perfect rich girl (Brittany Murphy), dumb shlub (Ashton Kutcher) pairing that kicks off the festivities -- now you're caught up.

Even as formulaic as Just Married is, there are a couple of salient points to be made. In any film where all the comedy comes from a happy loving couple's total unhappiness, it is absolutely vital that at least a modicum of affection be established between the characters. The Just Married script kicks off with the most vicious hatred imaginable and, even with an all too brief flashback to establish the credentials of this mismatched love connection, nothing in the the star's performances or in the directions they receive from helmsman Shawn Levy or the pathetically unfunny script does anything to make it feel real. There is no chemistry between Kutcher and Murphy, despite their real life involvement (if you believe Access Hollywood, that is).

Then again, we're not the target demo and we have no overwhelming desire to shell out ten bucks for a look at either Murphy or Kutcher. There are more laughs to be found in any random half hour of That 70s Show, Kutcher's claim to fame, than in the entirety of Just Married. Maybe someone should have taken notes before sitting down at their word processor.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Just Married, he would have paid . . .

$1.00

Woof.

As always, we watched the target demo -- and our house was jammed to the gills. Were Just Married a success, the house would have been roaring. It wasn't. Frankly, before the doggie gag, there wasn't a chuckle to be heard. From then on in the laughter was sporadic and nothing close to a roar. Just Married is a failure pure and simple.

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