DENNIS SCHWARTZ 
IS THERE ANY GOOD 
IN SAYING 
EVERYTHING ABOUT A MOVIE?

 
HONEYMOON IN VEGAS (director/writer: Andrew Bergman; cinematographer: William A. Fraker; editor: Barry Malkin; music: David Newman; cast: Nicolas Cage (Detective Jack Singer), Sarah Jessica Parker (Betsy), James Caan (Tommy Korman), Pat Morita (Mahi Mahi), Anne Bancroft (Bea Singer), Peter Boyle (Chief Orman), Seymour Cassel (Tony Cataracts); Runtime: 95; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Mike Lobell; Columbia Pictures; 1992)

 
"It reminds me of those Cary Grant screwball comedies."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Andrew Bergman ("The Freshman") directed and wrote this mainstream romantic comedy that has much entertainment value despite its sitcom plot. It reminds me of those Cary Grant screwball comedies.

Seedy Manhattan private detective Nicholas Cage vowed to his mother, on her deathbed, that he would never marry. His longtime girlfriend Sarah Jessica Parker is a teacher, who gives him an ultimatum that he either marries her or else she walks. Not wanting to lose his love interest, he suggests they fly to Vegas and tie the knot in one of those instant marriage wedding chapels.

In Vegas, Cage gets into a high-stakes poker game and loses everything, including his girlfriend, to professional gambler and mob figure James Caan, who takes an interest in Parker because she reminds him of his late wife. He thereby forces loser Cage to fork over his girlfriend for a weekend and have his debts cleared or have his legs broken.

Parker is confused by this scenario as the slimy Caan pretends to be nice and tries talking the reluctant would-be bride into marrying him, while Cage frantically chases after them in Hawaii trying to correct his bad bet. Peter Boyle does a fine comic stint as an Hawaiian tribal chief who resembles Marlon Brando, as he reveals his passion for the Broadway musical comedy and for singing "Bali Ha'i" with odd arm movements.

The most zany film moment is saved for those 100 or so Elvis impersonators. They are holding a convention at the Vegas hotel when Cage and Parker check in, and provide a diverting interlude throughout before the splashy payoff in which Cage, in their company, parachutes into Vegas at night while also dressed as Elvis. 

The mood of the film is changed when Caan reverts to his sinister gangster role and is no longer Mr. Nice Guy, but the film has enough gas in its tank and continuing comedy routines to handle that misplaced change of direction. The usually outrageous Cage is surprisingly understated and that acting decision was a wise one, as his straight guy role greatly helps the zany comedy.

REVIEWED ON 1/15/2004     GRADE: B-

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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