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Just Married

Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Murphy

india Updated: Mar 15, 2003 21:51 IST

This film could just as easily have been called 'Honeymoon gone wrong' or 'Where's the sex during honeymoon?'. Even if you've just seen a film-and-a-half of this genre, you’ve probably got the plot by now. As that's about pretty much the core agenda of the film starring Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy.

A hackneyed plot that would be very familiar to Indians - poor boy Tom (cracker, graveyard shift traffic announcer who can’t look beyond baseball in life) falls in love with rich girl Sarah (elite WASP, art history major, well heeled family complete with Korean butler) – faithfully follows the pattern set by just about a thousand earlier films in the just out of college romantic comedy genre. The girl’s family tries every subtle and not-so-subtle cliché to keep the duo apart, but can young love not triumph in a film where the plot twist lies in the honeymoon?

So the lovebirds leave for a chalet in France, for their ideal honeymoon. But contrived situations intervene to prevent them from having sex – too tired, followed by Sarah's "tomorrow my parents are going to know for sure I'm not a virgin on first day, or rather night. A flight that does not leave time for loo-sex, coupled with Tom getting his foot stuck in the seat.

The chalet stay is no better, especially after Tom nearly torches the place with a sex toy. Thrown out, they have to spend the icy night in their tiny car. Then they run into Sarah’s chosen by family boyfriend, Peter…

What saves the film from denigrating into a farce is the lead pair. While Murphy may not be as quirky as she was in Clueless (1995), she has definitely grown as an actress. She not just brings winsome charm to her half of the bickering couple, she also adds verve and a touch of human frailty to her portrayal.

Dumb-funny Kutcher is also far more effective than he was in Dude, Where’s My Car (2000) or That 70s Show (1998). The buffoonery that has some to be associated with him is under control, and there are parts, albeit infrequent, where he is actually funny without resorting to physical innuendoes. Together they cute and charismatic, and their combustible spontaneity brings the film alive in jerks.

The problem however lies in the plot. The genre has already been done to death. Accidental meeting, stereotyped characters, there is hardly any cliché that does not find a place onscreen. Even the locales and camerawork is predictable and rather elementary. The film is told in a flashback, perhaps the only unusual factor in this category of films. What never reaches the conviction level are the situations that cause them to either break up or come together again.

A light film, it will appeal to those who leave their minds when they enter the theatre. It has its rare moments of fun, but the juvenile level at which most of the film operates, leaves ample time to think what else could have been done during this 95-minute film. Watch it for the chemistry between Kutcher and Murphy.

First Published: Mar 15, 2003 11:07 IST