According to various unreliable Internet sources, Just Married co-stars Ashton Kutcher (forever to be known as the star of Dude, Where's My Car?) and Brittany Murphy are now actually planning to be married. If this isn't a Fox publicity stunt, it'll be a shame that they'll have to look back and tell the kids that this was the movie that brought Mom and Dad together. Just Married feels like a waste, even though Kutcher and Murphy both have talent and charisma, and are about due for leading roles. But even their charms can't quite save a script (by Sam Harper, who wrote Rookie of the Year) that barely exists, save for the usual "Europeans are different from us" gags cribbed from National Lampoon's European Vacation and a bit with a dog directly lifted from There's Something About Mary.
As written, the two lead characters are as bland as can be: Tom (Kutcher) is a sports fan who, um, likes sports and drinks beer. Since male leads in flicks of this caliber are required to have quirky jobs, he is a substitute traffic reporter on the graveyard shift at a radio station. Sarah (Murphy) has improbably listened to him and even called in, so we know it's meant to be. She also likes sports, but the rest of her background is painted in equally broad strokes: She wears pink, has a hideous dog that resembles an albino Yoda, and is the daughter of a pompous multimillionaire (David Rasche) who thinks any regular guy isn't good enough for his little girl, whom he refers to as "Pee-wee."
The happy duo get married, but since the movie opens with them returning from a honeymoon ready to kill each other (he shoves her into a coffee stand, she throws gum into his hair, he rams a baggage cart into her, etc.), we know that all will not go well. The honeymoon was in Europe, where buildings are old, cars are small, people are fat, and electrical outlets use different voltage. Are you laughing yet?
Sarah's also still being pursued by her ex-boyfriend (Christian Kane), who happens to be a business partner of her dad's. Showing a predictable lack of judgment, she assumes the best of intentions on his part, when in fact . . . Never mind. As if you can't guess.
Kutcher, who for the first time isn't playing a total dumbass, seems to have done the most preparation for the role -- his increasing exasperation-cum-fury, which provides the film's major laughs, is at times reminiscent of John Cleese in Fawlty Towers. The material and supporting characters suffer grievously by comparison. Murphy, who more or less has to play the straight woman, has good chemistry with her co-star, but not much else. By the time the newlyweds end up in Venice, the story's gone so flat that you may feel like a browbeaten spouse trapped in a loveless marriage.
If there's anything valuable about Just Married, it's the message that love can be difficult and your partner may at times piss you off more than anyone else in the world. Maybe the teen demographic this movie aims for needs to know that. On the other hand, they probably came looking for a brainless romantic comedy with some good laughs, so here's a tip: Go see Two Weeks Notice instead.