- The Washington Times - Friday, January 10, 2003

The problem with "Just Married" is this: It's colossally stupid and juvenile, brought low by crude, gastrointestinal potty humor and led by a clownish ensemble of bad actors.
Here's what's entertaining about it: It's colossally stupid and juvenile, brought low by crude, gastrointestinal potty humor and led by a clownish ensemble of bad actors.
As lame as "Just Married" is ranking somewhere between irredeemably tasteless and tolerably mindless I still contend there's a place for clunkers like this.
It's not worth wasting a trip to your local megaplex; it barely merits a video rental.
Still, "Just Married" has every indication of being a harmless cable-TV delight: a foul-weather, Saturday-morning distraction, the kind of movie you can't quite turn off that makes you think to yourself when it's over, "I just threw away an hour and a half of my life."
Directed by the undistinguished Shawn Levy, "Just Married" stars Ashton Kutcher (the shaggy-haired stoner in "Dude, Where's My Car?" and Fox's "That '70s Show") and Brittany Murphy (rapper Eminem's flame in "8 Mile") as two young Los Angeles newlyweds on a European honeymoon from hell.
Everything that could go wrong in a 40-year marriage happens to these two within a week. They practically have a midlife crisis on their wedding night.
The hapless couple is, on paper at least, a match made most decidedly on Earth: Tom Leezak (Mr. Kutcher) is a gangly, working-class slacker who works the graveyard shift as a radio-station traffic reporter and drives a Dodge Charger. Sarah McNerney (Miss Murphy) is a petite Beverly Hills heiress who majored in art history at Wellesley College.
But, go figure, the girl's dad (David Rasche) co-owns the Lakers and Dodgers and loves sports as much as she loves that high-falutin artsy stuff.
After the two meet on the beach (thanks to an errant football toss from Tom that landed on Sarah's face), it's love at first sight. Cohabitation soon follows, then marriage, then trouble in paradise (namely, the French Alps and Venice).
Geared as it is toward teenagers with the attention span of cold coffee, "Just Married" provides the requisite amount of toilet jokes and sight gags. There are bloody noses, old ladies with gas, messy gropings in an airplane lavatory and a rectal customs search.
With the exception of a gratuitous lampooning of an Asian immigrant (borrowing from the same canned drive-through joke in "Dude, Where's My Car?"), much of this is mildly amusing. There, I admit it: I laughed.
As far as romantic comedy goes, though, it's awfully thin gruel. There's exactly zero chemistry between the supposedly ga-ga couple, for one thing, and their love scenes come off way too literally. They look like exactly what they are two professional actors being paid to kiss in front of a roomful of people.
Even when a scene calls for bickering, which should be the easiest thing in the world for any actor older than 5, Miss Murphy can hardly keep from laughing. Indeed, she giggles so much throughout the movie, it makes you wonder if she was smoking anything on the set.
And Mr. Kutcher what to say about Mr. Kutcher? He lacks any semblance of skill, range or instinct as an actor. In a scene in which Tom entreats Sarah to give their relationship a second chance, for instance, his tears are about as believable as a promise by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
In an otherwise amateurish screenplay, writer Sam Harper does manage to perform one valuable service by contributing a new word to the relationship lexicon: "the roster," i.e., a list of past sexual partners that the inherently jealous male demands of a serious girlfriend.
Other than that little gem, "Just Married" is mostly forgettable junk.
Skip this one. Wait for that rainy Saturday when this turkey hits Cinemax.

*1/2
vTITLE: "Just Married"
RATING: PG-13 (Mild profanity, crude humor, near-constant harping about lovemaking, fleeting drug reference)
CREDITS: Directed by Shawn Levy. Written by Sam Harper. Produced by Robert Simonds.
RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes
MAXIMUM RATING: FOUR STARS

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