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Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy take the cake in this outrageous comedy hit that proves love and laughter are the perfect match! Sarah (Murphy) is a happy-go-lucky rich girl whose meddling family is as snobbish as it is wealthy. Tom (Kutcher) is a hope-I-get-lucky party guy who prefers sports bars over fancy cars. But opposites attract sidesplitting fun when these two young newlyweds embark on their perfectly-planned European honeymoon with disastrous - and hilarious - results!

Shawn Levy
Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Murphy, Christian Kane, David Moscow, Monet Mazur
Writing Credits:
Sam Harper

It was the perfect honeymoon... Until it began.
Box Office:
Opening weekend $17.548 million on 2766 screens.
Domestic gross $56.118 million.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, some crude humor and a brief drug reference.

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
Fullscreen 1.33:1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Surround
Spanish Dolby Surround
English, Spanish

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $27.98
Release Date: 6/17/2003

• Audio Commentary with Director Shawn Levy and Actors Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Directorís Commentary
• ďReel Comedy: The Making of Just MarriedĒ Featurette
• Theatrical Trailers

Search Titles:

Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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Just Married (2003)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 15, 2003)

During certain parts of the year, it doesnít take much to snag a week as the number one box office attraction. One of these periods occurs in mid-to-late January, the definition of a cinematic wasteland. The prior yearís big holiday releases have started to fade, so the studios unleash the dreck they deemed unsuitable for more active movie-going periods.

This allows some real duds to stake their brief claim to number one status. Not that such an achievement really means anything in regard to box office prospects, as a lot of these flicks have their short time in the sun and then quickly vanish. For a vivid example of this kind of January wonder, we need look no further than 2003ís Just Married.

Married hit screens January 10 and spent one magical weekend at the top of the box office after it snagged about $17 million for that period. Another off-season wonder, Kangaroo Jack took the crowd the following week. Married eventually nailed $56 million; that figure didnít rewrite records, but for a small romantic comedy with little star power behind it, the flickís gross seemed decent.

Too bad the movie itself reeked. At the start of Married, we meet newlywed couple Tom (Ashton Kutcher) and Sarah (Brittany Murphy) as they return from a cantankerous honeymoon. The pair display clear antagonism as they come back from Europe. Tom mopes about the split and talks to a friend, which allows the movie to go into flashbacks to depict how the formerly happy couple became unhappy.

The film traces the roots of their relationship. Tomís a working-class sports nuts, while Sarahís part of an exceptionally wealthy family who mostly donít seem to approve of her new beau. We also encounter her dadís (David Rasche) protťgť Peter Prentiss (Christian Kane), who dislikes Tom because he wants Sarah for himself.

Tom and Sarah move in together after a month and get engaged after 10 months. After they wed, their tensions start almost immediately, and these intensify when they get to Europe for their honeymoon. The film follows their misadventures on vacation and how they lead toward their split, and we then see the further developments when they come home.

Married feels like little more than a light version of a Farrelly brothers comedy. The movie awkwardly connects sappy romance with broad physical and scatological humor, and neither side works well. On one hand, we get scenes like one in which Tom and Sarah get it on in a smelly airplane lavatory, and we see Tom start a hotel fire when he plugs a giant sexual toy into an unadapted outlet. The movie abounds with fart gags and slapstick bits.

On the other hand, the flick often stops on a dime to toss in sentimental moments. As heard during this DVDís audio commentary, director Shawn Levy seems proud of these shifts, but they donít work at all. The changes come across as gratuitous and too abrupt, and they donít integrate with the movie well. The comedy appears loud and grating, and the romantic moments seem excessively mushy and sappy.

Most of the time Married feels like a remake of a Vacation movie combined with some weepy romance. The actors only sporadically help make it more palatable. I like Murphy, and I think she enhances the movie to a degree. A sexy and spunky presence, she brings life to the part and makes Sarah tougher and more endearing than otherwise expected. Murphy canít save this mess, but she allows it to function a little better than otherwise might have occurred.

Unfortunately, Kutcher actively harms the flick due to his excessively broad performance. The actor mugs and goofs so heavily that he makes weak gags even more annoying. I think Kutcher has comedic talent, but he fails to display any in this loud and aggressive piece of work.

Kutcherís forceful tone seems especially odd since he appears to have been cast due to his incredibly unthreatening presence. Married feels like it was aimed mostly at adolescent girls, and Kutcher offers perhaps the ultimate inoffensive actor. Heís almost androgynous in his looks. Kutcher may be the prettiest pretty boy Iíve ever seen. Heís prettier than Murphy. Heís prettier than Brooke Shields in Pretty Baby. Heís prettier than Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. Heís prettier than... well, you get the point.

Itís simply hard to take Kutcher in this sort of role, because his soft presence makes it tough to accept him in a fairly adult role. Not that another actor could have saved this tripe. Just Married tosses out lame and crass humor and formulaic and sentimental emotional bits and combines them into one unfunny, unmoving piece.

The DVD Grades: Picture A- / Audio B+ / Bonus B-

Just Married appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this double-sided, single-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Not many problems emerged during this genuinely solid image.

Sharpness always looked great. No signs of softness emerged at any time. I thought the picture looked crisp and detailed. Jagged edges and moirť effects presented no issues, and I also detected no signs of edge enhancement. As for print concerns, I saw a mark or two, but otherwise it looked clean and free from problems.

Married displayed a varied and lively palette. The colors consistently looked excellent, and they often really leapt off the screen. The tones were vivid and distinctive and appeared terrific. Black levels also seemed deep and tight, while shadow detail was clean and appropriately dense. Overall, the image of Just Married looked absolutely terrific.

Though not quite as strong as the image, the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio seemed surprisingly positive for this sort of movie. The soundfield appeared nicely broad and involving much of the time. The mix always portrayed a good sense of atmosphere, as it created a fine feeling of environment that placed elements appropriately and accurately. The track displayed a general focus on the forward channels, but it spread well across all five speakers, especially during more active sequences. For example, one thunderstorm scene brought the mix to life well. Nothing about the soundfield stood out as spectacular, but it seemed more vivid than I anticipated.

Audio quality was solid. Speech appeared natural and distinct, and I noticed no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate. They presented no signs of distortion and added good bass response when appropriate. Music seemed vibrant and bouncy, as the score and songs were lively and tight. Overall, the soundtrack didnít stun me, but for this kind of flick, it worked very well.

Just Married spreads a mix of extras across its two sides. One of these appears on both sides: an audio commentary with director Shawn Levy and actors Brittany Murphy and Ashton Kutcher. All three sat together for this running, screen-specific piece. On paper, this track didnít seem very good. The trio donít give us much substantial information, and they really poured on the happy talk. The praise flew fast and furious, and it got pretty thick at times. Occasionally we heard some interesting tidbits like Kutcherís attempts to flesh out his characterís backstory, but not much detail emerged.

Surprisingly, however, I genuinely enjoyed this commentary. Despite the fluffy tone and the lack of substance, the group displayed a good chemistry and they kept the track light and fun. It passed by quite quickly and kept me entertained most of the time. It wasnít a great commentary, but Iíve heard many worse ones.

Side One includes only one exclusive feature, a program called Comedy Centralís Reel Comedy: Just Married. Hosted by Mario Cantone, the 20-minute and 56-second show puts him in a New York honeymoon suite with actors Kutcher and Murphy. They chat about the movie and play a lame relationship quiz game as well. We see lots of movie clips and hear many crummy jokes from the grating Cantone; he thinks his Cartman impression is the pinnacle of hilarity, but it ainít. ďReelĒ tells us virtually nothing about the movie beyond basic story points and gags, and the attempts at humor seem annoying and unfunny. These ďReel ComedyĒ specials try too hard to be wacky and irreverent, but they only succeed in making movies look worse than they are.

When we go to Side Two, we open with a collection of four deleted scenes. These last between 77 seconds and two minutes, 19 seconds, for a total of seven minutes, 40 seconds worth of footage. The first two extend existing sequences, while the others add new footage. Three of the four provide additional sentimental cheese; since the movieís already rife with that element, they definitely needed to be cut. The last one depicts a conversation between Tom and a priest affiliated with Sarahís parents, as the father attempts to dissuade Tom from his course of action. Given its vaguely homosexual overtones and the current controversies in the Catholic church, Iím not surprised it fell on the cutting room floor.

The scenes can be view with or without commentary from director Levy. He relates some information about the segments and lets us know why he cut them from the film. His remarks seem useful and enlightening.

After this we find a quick three-minute and 40-second Making Of Featurette. Essentially an extended trailer, we get a couple of quick shots from the set plus a few remarks about the story from director Levy and actors Kutcher, Murphy, and Christian Kane, but the vast majority of the piece consists of movie clips. The program offers literally no information about the filmís creation. Itís a total waste of time.

After this virtual trailer, we find a few real ones. We get theatrical trailers for Just Married, Le Divorce, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

A poor mťlange of broad humor and cheap sentiment, Just Married works on neither account. It feels like a messy and uninvolving piece of fluff that never threatens to entertain or amuse. The DVD offers excellent picture plus very good audio and a few insubstantial but occasionally interesting extras. Fans of Just Married should enjoy this solid presentation of the film, but I canít recommend this dud to anyone who doesnít already like the flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5312 Stars Number of Votes: 64
8 3:
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