Honeymoon in Vegas

(1992) ** 1/2 Pg-13
95 min. Columbia Pictures. Directors: Andrew Bergman, Mark Parry (II). Cast: James Caan, Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker, Robert Costanzo, Seymour Cassel.

/content/films/4147/2.jpgThe strangely flat Honeymoon in Vegas hasn't aged terribly well. A hit comedy back in 1992, the film today seems to have succeeded on the strength of an easily grasped premise, acceptable star players, and the trailer-ready climax involving "The Flying Elvises."

Anticipating the following year's Indecent Proposal, Honeymoon in Vegas hinges on a rich guy's offer to buy out a young woman from under her man. In this case, the gag is that the deal comes just at the moment when the couple is poised to marry. It's for this very reason that Jack Singer (Nicolas Cage) and girlfriend Betsy (Sarah Jessica Parker) have come to Las Vegas, but an ill-advised side trip to a poker game finds Jack playing right into the hand(s) of mobster Tommy Korman (James Caan), who sees Betsy as the spitting image of his late wife Donna. A man who doesn't take "no" for an answer, Tommy gets Jack into crippling debt then promises to cancel it for a weekend with Betsy. Thus begins a game of cat-and-mouse between the men as Tommy whisks Betsy off to Hawaii to convince her that he's the better man, while Jack wises up and attempts to make his way back to his fiancée.

It's all very...cute, including a soundtrack larded with Elvis covers by top pop artists (Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Willie Nelson, Bono, et al). It would be telling to reveal how the Flying Elvises become involved, but it's worth noting that the film also includes a cameo by future pop star Bruno Mars (as "Little Elvis"). Anne Bancroft has a one-scene cameo as Jack's droll drama-queen mother, and Peter Boyle, Seymour Cassel, Pat Morita and Tony Shalhoub all show up in supporting turns. But nothing much gets a foothold here, comically or emotionally. In a way, Bergman's film is the romantic comedy version of its setting: an overgrown theme park that momentarily amuses, wears down the body and spirit, but mentally stays behind. With leads more generic than Cage and Caan, Honeymoon in Vegas would be unwatchable, but the former keeps the energy up and the latter makes for a love-to-hate-him weasel.

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Aspect ratios: 1.85:1

Number of discs: 1

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Street date: 7/5/2011

Distributor: 20th Century Fox

/content/films/4147/1.jpgMGM gives Honeymoon in Vegas its Blu-ray debut in a bare-bones budget release sporting what appears to be a not-so-well-aged hi-def transfer. Color representation is uninspiring, with some suspiciously unnatural hues, and detail and texture are inconsistent. Noisy grain alternates with DNR to add to the picture's schizoid quality, but on balance, the picture certainly delivers enough good-looking moments to recommend it over DVD. In fact, since the DVD was only ever released in an incorrect 1.33:1 aspect ratio, this new Blu-ray is pretty much the only way to go for anyone looking to put this film on the shelf. Audio comes in an adequate DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track that again probably bests its DVD equivalent but fares poorly in comparison to today's hi-def standard. The only bonus feature is a "Theatrical Trailer" (2:10, HD).

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

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