There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Ashton Kutcher is not the only element Just Married borrows from That ’70s Show: Brittany Murphy, in a hapless attempt to show her character’s puppy love, appears to spend the entire movie stoned. She giggles maniacally whenever her dopey new husband, Tom (Kutcher), whacks his head or knocks something over or calls her mother by her given name, Pussy. This incessant tittering is the only sign of attraction between the two stars, and it effectively dispels the film’s notion that theirs was a “perfect relationship ruined by marriage.” (Given that the two are dating in real life, their lack of onscreen sizzle suggests that they are possibly the worst actors ever.) Just Married, predictably, is no better than its trailer, offering plenty of bad physical comedy as regular-guy Tom—a radio traffic reporter—and Sarah (Murphy)—a writer, according to synopses, though there’s no onscreen indication she’s anything but a rich couple’s precious daughter—come to the conclusion that Life Is Hard when their fantasy honeymoon doesn’t proceed as smoothly as their courtship. Of course, the audience isn’t really shown proof of this match made in heaven, merely a glimpse of Tom and Sarah’s meet-cute—surprise! he konks her in the head with a football—and their torturous small talk afterward. But if convincing narrative isn’t really the strong suit of screenwriter Sam Harper (Rookie of the Year) and director Shawn Levy (Big Fat Liar), neither is just letting the jokes fly: The only decent gag involves the new couple’s car rental (Tom responds to Sarah’s assertion that “this is a European compact” with “No, this is a Ringling Bros. compact”). The many that fail do serve a purpose, though: revealing that Kutcher isn’t quite ready to graduate from dude to hubby, and that Murphy is much more adept at voicing a drawling Luanne on King of the Hill than portraying a twittering newlywed on the big screen. At least someone’s laughing. —Tricia Olszewski