Honeymoon in Vegas
Directed by Andrew Bergman. Starring James Caan, Nicolas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker.
The challenge Bergman seems to find interesting is taking a potentially repugnant subject, slap it on the screen and in the audience's face, and make it both palatable and funny. He used the technique in The Freshman, giving us the corruption of a young boy by a Mafia don as the plotline and inviting us to interact with the other side of Don Corleone, the sweet old man as played by Marlon Brando. James Caan has also played a member of the Corleone family, Sonny, and he has his sweet side too. Unfortunately, Nicolas Cage doesn't run into that side of the aging gangster when he loses a high stakes poker game and it is only a genuine fear for his life that makes him consider for a minute Caan's request for a chaste weekend with girlfriend Parker. In return, Caan promises to forgive the debt. Caan goes to work with cool professionalism to create a character with enough charm to shake Parker's sincere love for Cage and enough controlled menace to shake Cage down to his boots. Cage is very engaging; for a change, doesn't overplay this role. The confrontation between these two lovers, the aging, wily swain and the hapless young fool is classic. It's a true test of love and of the characters' suitability for marriage and what better battleground than Las Vegas, where chance is law. But for Bergman, it all seems to come a little too easily and he loses interest as soon as he gets ours. Caan whisks Parker away to Hawaii, Cage doggedly pursues and our interest begins to flag as we see one contrived bit follow another. The day is saved by Elvis Ex Machina, a troupe of skydiving Elvi in the sky, and with that remarkable contrivance, Elvis as god, Bergman just barely pulls his fat out of the fire. Honeymoon in Vegas is what every stupid comedy should be to justify the price of admission, sadly it is no more than that.
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