What Happens in Vegas

  • Review Date: May 7, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 98 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Raunchy romantic comedy has a softer side, too.
  • Review Date: May 7, 2008
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2008
  • Running Time: 98 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The plot revolves around the question of what makes a committed marriage; in order to break up their sham union, the main characters encourage each other to seduce their partners into infidelity. Toward the same end, Kutcher's character pretends to be a victim of spousal abuse. Some toilet humor, including urination on-screen.


Scuffling, tussling, and feuding; characters are punched in the face and the "junk" slapping.


Implied sexual activity; lots of making out; a character flashes her breasts (not shown) as a form of payment to a cabbie; characters appear in underwear; role play as part of a committed relationship; sexual exploration and more.


Constant sexually suggestive language, with many references to "getting laid," "having sex," and more. Repeated use of words/phrases like "ass," dick," "balls," "douche," "junk," "ball sack," "jack off," "whore," "sluts," "s--t," "bitch," "buttload," "vagina," and "effing," plus "shortbus" and "retard" as insults.


Characters stay at the Planet Hollywood hotel in Las Vegas and drink Bud Light and Michelob Light. Tampax is referenced by name.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Alcohol is consumed and abused, with ramifications ranging from hangover to vomiting to an impulsive marriage. Alcohol is also consumed socially in lower volumes and with less dire ramifications. A reference is made to "a bag of weed."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this fairly raunchy comedy starring teen faves Ashton Kutcher and Cameron Diaz revolves around a drunken, ill-advised marriage after a night of debauchery in Las Vegas. Forced to stay together due to an unexpected windfall, the leads feud, fight and argue constantly in an effort to get the other to violate their "union." There's a lot of sexual content (making out, underwear shots, breasts flashed off-camera, etc.), constant iffy (albeit inventive) language, and frequent drinking. But although there's plenty of questionable material -- including Kutcher's character feigning being the victim of spousal abuse, a topic that's hard to laugh about -- there's also a surprising amount of positive material about the nature of a real marriage and what it takes to make one work.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

After each suffering a setback, Jack Fuller (Ashton Kutcher) and Joy McNally (Cameron Diaz) go to Las Vegas for the opportunity to unwind; a chance meeting turns into a night of drinking ... which culminates in a hasty, booze-fueled marriage. The next day's regrets and recriminations are capped off by Jack winning a $3 million slot machine jackpot -- which is now community property. Back in New York, a judge freezes the funds and forces Jack and Joy to "try and make the marriage work." Jack and Joy then begin a cold war of plots, stratagems, and schemes to get the other to show bad faith and abdicate their half of the money, but the relationship between the two gradually thaws -- and then even warms. Could their drunken, irresponsible wedding turn out to be the foundation of a real relationship?

Is it any good?


Even as their unwelcome marriage becomes a battleground over possession of the money, anyone who doubts that Diaz's busy go-getter and Kutcher's slacker will learn from each other, come to respect each other, and, in time, have real feelings for each other has clearly never seen a romantic comedy before. Neither Kutcher nor Diaz are working much outside of their established personas here -- he's an overgrown child, and she needs to loosen up -- and their on-screen chemistry is a bit more convincing when they're angry than when they're not, but they do get a nice rhythm going.

What Happens in Vegas is a mix of sour and sweet, as Kutcher and Diaz's combat eventually turns to affection; the film also benefits from a great supporting cast (including Rob Corddry, Queen Latifah, Dennis Miller, and Zach Galifianakis) that provides solid laughs whenever the film slows down. Director Tom Vaughan keeps the pace brisk, and that swiftness keeps What Happens in Vegas from bogging down or becoming a chore. It tries to follow the template set by Judd Apatow's recent successful comedies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, mixing naughty, bawdy jokes with sweeter, more sincere sentiments; while the execution may not be as impressive here as it is in Apatow's films, it's also far better than anything the Farrelly brothers (The Heartbreak Kid, Me, Myself and Irene) have made in years. What Happens in Vegas isn't a comedy jackpot, but it's hardly a losing bet.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Las Vegas' reputation -- does what happens in Vegas in fact stay in Vegas, or do actions always have consequences? Talk with your kids about some of the real-life problems caused by drinking too much. Families can also discuss how the characters' sham marriage turns into a real supportive relationship, as well as the real challenges and rewards of marriage. Finally, families can talk about the recent trend of raunchy romantic comedies -- what makes these films so popular?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:May 7, 2008
DVD release date:August 25, 2008
Cast:Ashton Kutcher, Cameron Diaz, Rob Corddry
Director:Tom Vaughan
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Run time:98 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some sexual and crude content, and language, including a drug reference.

This review of What Happens in Vegas was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Adult Written byLaceY April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

I Loved it!

I thought that this movie was funny and maybe not that great for kids, but if you think about it everything that is in this movie is plastered everywhere. Sex, swearing, violence on t.v anywhere you go. Its in schools, so even if my boy didn't see this movie he is going to see it at school or somewhere else. This didn't have gangs or shooting did it or drugs .....no why look always at the negative things? your kids are going to get a preview somewhere and it could be a lot worse.
Teen, 14 years old Written byJimmy brew December 27, 2014

Awful sick romcom isn't funny at all

My rating: PG-13 for sex-related humor and drug refrences
Parent of an infant, 6, and 8 year old Written byMomma comma July 23, 2013

Cameron Diaz

Drunk ness. Relationship innuendo.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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