Just Married Movie Review

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Since I'm getting married this spring, I figured Just Married would be a funny diversion from all of the wedding planning and decisions my fiancé and I are making these days. Much to my surprise, this mean-spirited film scared me more than it entertained. I hope married life isn't anything like the bit of hell portrayed in Just Married.

Ashton Kutcher (TV's That '70s Show) plays Tom Leezak, a quirky late-night radio traffic reporter who has little to show for his life, except for the beautiful woman who has recently and inexplicably become his wife. She is Sarah McNerney (Brittany Murphy), a young free spirit and daughter of one of Beverly Hills' richest tycoons. Their marriage meets with great opposition from her snobbish family, especially from her father who wishes she had married her old flame and refined family friend, Peter Prentis (Christian Kane). For their honeymoon, Tom and Sarah take an expensive vacation to visit the great capitals of Europe. Unfortunately, their vacation follows a downward spiral that finds the two newlyweds fighting at every moment and looking nothing like the happily-ever-after couple they should be.

Like Tom and Sarah's doomed honeymoon, Just Married is a hopeless failure from its first few frames. We don't even know the characters' names and we're already being told the film's central conflict. What follows is one long flashback scene where nothing we see surprises us because we now expect certain things to happen. Because we already know the outcome, Married becomes an exhaustive waiting game for the obligatory happy ending. Despite an occasional chuckle at Kutcher's expense and Murphy's inherent cuteness, Married is just a boorish mess.

Director Shawn Levy achieved a small success directing young stars Frankie Muniz and Amanda Bynes in last year's Big Fat Liar. In Liar, Muniz and Bynes use numerous silly pranks and stunts to garner laughs from its pre-pubescent audience. Married is really just another version of Liar, but for the adolescent crowd. Levy successfully directs Kutcher and Murphy's childish quarrels, but he fails to give them much depth beyond that. Their relationship is too elementary to engage, and Levy wastes too much time choreographing arguments to take full advantage of the beautiful European locales.

Kutcher and Murphy (who are a couple in real life) are two attractive, likeable actors with great potential, but their skills are wasted here. There is no opportunity for them to develop any kind of chemistry because they fight for the entire movie. After the first few quarrels, the novelty wears thin. In fact, I'd say they never took the material seriously. Murphy makes that clear during several of their heated arguments where she breaks a wry smile, appearing to be just on the edge of laughter.

I'm glad she had fun making the film. On the other hand, I had little fun watching it.

Try it on. It's good for another half a star.

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Just Married Rating

" Terrible "

Rating: PG-13, 2003

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