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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Clumsily Ever After
by Betty Jo Tucker

Someone very perceptive once observed, "Tragedy results when bad things happen to you; comedy involves bad things happening to other people." In Just Married, bad things happen to a newly married couple during their entire honeymoon – and I couldn’t stop laughing at their hilarious plight. Sure, the plot looks like a rip off of The Out-of-Towners, and sophisticated dialogue is nowhere to be found in this silly romantic comedy, but co-stars Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher save the day with their slapstick antics and funny pratfalls.

Murphy (8 Mile) and Kutcher (Dude, Where’s My Car?) work well together. Equally matched in quirkiness and physicality, they make a good comedy team. Murphy’s huge brown eyes project "I’m so innocent," but she can also throw out a sexy come-hither look and a "double whammy" to make you cringe. Kutcher reminds me of a big circus bear – tricks and all. In one highly amusing scene, he fights off pigeons with an uncanny Jim Carrey-like zaniness.

Because of Sarah McNerney’s (Murphy) unusual first meeting with Tom Leezak (Kutcher), she should have known a smooth romance would be out of the question. A football thrown by Tom hits her in the head, knocking her down as she jogs along the beach. An omen? She doesn’t care. He’s sexy, handsome, and fun. She’s not even concerned when Tom accidentally bumps her head on the door while trying to carry her into their wedding suite. Why worry? After all, they are scheduled to leave the next morning for Europe, and nothing could be more romantic than a honeymoon trip to Italy. Unfortunately, Fate has another agenda for the unsuspecting bride and groom. Shocks, falls, and collapsing walls replace champagne, snuggling, and candlelit suppers. And what could be worse than an old boyfriend (Christian Kane) showing up to share in the fisticuffs and festivities?

Maybe Sarah’s wealthy family and Tom's outspoken friend Kyle (David Moscow) were right to express skepticism about their marriage. Mr. McEnery (David Rasche) is convinced Tom doesn’t deserve his precious daughter. Willie (Thad Luckinbill), one of her brothers, can’t even look at Tom without showing his contempt for the part-time traffic reporter. (No young actor today sneers better than Luckenbill. If you don’t believe me, watch him as bad boy "J.T." on television’s Young and the Restless.) Tom’s Best Man Kyle, not to be outdone in negativity, warns the groom he’s "giving up all his options" by marrying Sarah.

After such a disastrous start, can this marriage be saved? Other couples have survived similar beginnings. Serenade of the Stinkweed, a new book soon to be released by Bandal Publishing, relates some of these true stories. (Okay. I admit that’s a shameless plug: my honeymoon mishap on the roof of a famous old hotel is one of the stories included.)

Fortunately, there is hope for Sarah and Tom – but they'll have to live clumsily ever after.

(Released by 20th Century Fox and rated "PG-13" for sexual content, some crude humor and brief drug reference.)

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