Just Married


Directed by: Shawn Levy
Written by:Shawn Levy
Starring: Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Murphy, Christian Kane, David Moscow, Monet Mazur
Released: February 20, 2003
Grade: A-

Just Married is one of the best romantic comedy of the last few years.  The unlikely stars are Ashton Kutcher (Dude, Where’s My Car?) and Brittany Murphy (8 Mile) and for once, you can actually see chemistry between boy and girl.  Possibly, this can be attributed to the fact that both Kutcher and Murphy are deeply in love off the set.  But also worth an equal credit is writer/director Shawn Levy’s who’s fast-paced script lays the platform.

Sarah McNerney (Murphy) comes from a very wealthy family but is a lovely down-to-earth girl.  Tom Leezak (Kutcher) is a late-night radio announcer who loves his beer and sports.  The two meet at the beach when Tom, playing football with his mates, inadvertently throws a wild pass which hits Sarah in the face.  Within a month, they’ve moved in together and agreed to get married.  True love.

The set off for their honeymoon in Europe and all that was so perfect before wedding turns to ruin.  They get kicked out of their castle in France when Jack blows an electrical fuse by trying to stick an American plug in a European outlet.  This is just the beginning of their dramas.  What is supposed to be the most romantic time of their lives turns to hell with a series of unlucky events.

Back home, Sarah’s family remains disapproving of their daughter’s choice in a husband.  They have sent Sarah’s classier friend, Peter Prentis (Kane), to Venice to “coincidentally” stay in the same hotel and help Sarah understand that he is the guy and not Jack.  His arrival adds plenty of fuel to the fire but can Jack and Sarah get passed this challenge and resolve the growing conflict between them?  Perhaps they did rush into things a little too quickly?  It’s a learning experience.

Kutcher and Murphy are a true delight to watch on screen.  They take everything very humorously and Murphy spends a lot of time laughing heartedly (and I don’t think she’s acting).  It looks real and their improvised style is refreshing.  I get tired of the seriousness of most romantic comedies – they are full of clichés and everyone speaks with unnecessary elegance.  Another positive is the lack of zany supporting characters – whilst such anomalies do appear, they don’t take the focus away from the leading duo.

Shawn Levy made last year’s Big Fat Liar and has been chosen to make an American adaptation of the enjoyable English flick, Fever Pitch, later this year.  He has a distinctive style in Just Married – he skips over many obligatory scenes (such as the wedding preparations and “I do” scene) to keep the story moving.  Another tradition not followed is the conclusion’s drawn-out reconciliation scene.  Here, things are perfectly apt – short and sweet – roll credits, play song, we’re away.

Just Married is slick, cool, sharp and funny.  When going to a romantic comedy, what more do you want?