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   HONEYMOON IN VEGAS (1992) 

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CAST
Nicolas Cage
Sarah Jessica Parker
James Caan
Pat Morita
Johnny Williams
John Capodice
Robert Costanzo
Anne Bancroft
Peter Boyle
Seymour Cassel

DIRECTED BY
Andrew Bergman

PURCHASE


DVD




Time: 96 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Romanctic Comedy


I remember seeing this film in the theater and just laughing out loud. Even though it's a bit dated in the clothing and hair departments, it's still a funny look at love and marriage. HONEYMOON is a light-hearted romp that could have gone dangerously awry if it weren't for such great casting. Cage and Parker have great chemistry together as a couple in love but with major committment problems. They were both in the early swings of their careers, popular but not a guarantee of box office success. HONEYMOON IN VEGAS did decent business which assuredly helped both of them reach the career heights they are now enjoying. James Caan completes the trio, playing a mobster with a yen for Parker, who will stop at nothing to possess her. His performance gives the film a little added danger and suspense, which lifts it from the normal romantic comedy mode.

The film opens with Jack (Cage) promising his dying mother that he will never marry because it will only bring him heartache. He can't deny his mother her last wish, so even though he loves his girlfriend Betsy (Parker), he can't bring himself to tie the knot. Tired of waiting for a life she may never acquire, Betsy gives Jack an ultimatum – marry her soon or she can't guarantee she'll be around forever. Despite his nightmarish dreams about his mother, he realizes he doesn't want to lose her and agrees to get married. Instead of just going to the justice of the peace or setting a date, they decide to fly to Las Vegas and elope. What they get is a weekend from hell. Before their "wedding" at a local chapel, Jack decides to play a game of high stakes poker. He was invited by professional gambler Tommy Korman (Caan) to a friendly game as a welcome to Las Vegas. What he doesn't realize is that Tommy wants something other than his money. He wants Betsy, who's a dead-ringer for his dearly departed wife Donna.


"People get married and then they do the most hideous, unbelievable things to each other."

Jack soon gets in trouble and ends up owing Tommy $65,000. Unable to come up with that kind of cash, Tommy makes an offer Jack can't refuse. He'll forget the debt if Betsy will agree to spend the weekend with him, just as a companion. Jack is devastated, but he has no choice but to ask Betsy. She's horrified at the suggestion, but realizes they don't really have another option. Tommy has threatened physical harm and he's a man who keeps his word. All she wanted was to get married and start their new life. Which is exactly what Tommy ends up offering her. He whisks her away to his Hawaiian home and shows her the life she could have if she chooses to stay. A smooth operator, Tommy has Betsy so confused by the end of the weekend – mainly by filling her head with lies about what happened at the poker game – that she agrees to marry him. Jack on the other hand is doing everything in his power to find her and make sure that Tommy's plan doesn't succeed. The road to true love is never smooth and no one learns this more than Jack. In the end, Jack makes a huge gesture to prove his love for Betsy and she ends up in the arms of the man she really loves.

HONEYMOON IN VEGAS is a well-written and acted romantic comedy with great dialogue and luscious locations. Even I would think twice if offered a home in Hawaii like the one they used. Cage does a great job as a man torn between keeping his word and keeping his girl. The scenes on Hawaii are immensely funny and showcase his comedic talent to a tee, especially the sequence with Peter Boyle as Chief Orman. Sarah Jessica Parker is wonderful as the confused Betsy. It's an intelligent and sweet role, which really uses her strengths. The scene in the casino where she's yelling at Cage for turning her into a whore is priceless. Caan gives his mobster heart and menace which is exactly what is required. The soundtrack is perfect, consisting of new renditions of classic Elvis tunes. Nothing says Vegas like Elvis and his songs really help evoke the appropriate mood for the film.

It goes without saying that the film requires a huge leap of faith from the audience in regards to the concept as a whole. There is no normal woman in the world who would agree to spend a weekend with a man she doesn't know, especially a well-known mobster, but the film gives enough "valid" reasons to take you along for the ride. Her agreeing to marry the mobster steps over the line of believability. It's pretty hard to swallow that she would take the word of a criminal over that of the man she's pledged her life to...even with the great Hawaiian scenery. Of course, if she doesn't agree there's no third act, no desperate attempt by Cage's character to regain her affection. If you're going to watch a romantic comedy, you have to be ready for the craziness that plagues all happy endings. Though cute and seemingly romantic onscreen, none of this is appealing in the real world. HONEYMOON IN VEGAS contains enough romance and comedy to satisfy just about anyone's palate, especially if you're in the mood for something light.



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