Viva Las Vegas Causes Blue Hawaii
Released back in 1992 "Honeymoon in Vegas" shares an uncanny resemblance to the more well known "Indecent Proposal" with a storyline about a couple in Las Vegas who in one way or another are forced into separating for the woman to spend time with a professional gambler. Except where "Indecent Proposal" is a serious drama "Honeymoon in Vegas" is a romantic comedy, one whose emphasis is on being funny, with a range of quirky characters and oddball humour. It has to be said that it's not the greatest romantic comedy but with it's penchant for the slightly offbeat and coming earlier on in Nicolas Cage's career "Honeymoon in Vegas" is quite amusing.
Having promised his dying mother that he would never marry, private detective Jack Singer (Nicolas Cage - The Cotton Club) finds himself in an awkward position when long term girlfriend Betsy (Sarah Jessica Parker - Flight of the Navigator) starts to tire of him and his commitment issues. Forced into proposing to her they jet off to Las Vegas to get married but when Jack loses thousands of dollars to professional gambler Tommy Korman (James Caan - For the Boys) he is given only one option, to allow Tommie to spend the weekend with Betsy. But Korman has other ideas as Betsy reminds him of his dearly departed wife and wants to marry her himself.
As already pointed out the storyline to "Honeymoon in Vegas" shares some similarities to "Indecent Proposal" as well as a few other movies but surprisingly it is well developed and not just there as a vehicle for a string of amusing scenes. It builds up with layers from Jack promising his mother that he would never marry, to the obvious relationship problems right through to Tommy Korman who is not just after Betsy because he can but because he misses his wife. The whole movie has a purpose rather than just feeling like a vehicle for some set piece gags or to showcase the talents of its stars. It's by no means a complex storyline and is quite predictable but it is engaging and at least gives the movie the motivation which many other rom-coms lack.
But whilst the storyline is good "Honeymoon in Vegas" is very much a movie driven by wonderful, humorous characters which reside just short of being caricatures. It's the frenetic energy of Jack Singer, the slightly comedic gambler/criminal Tommy Korman and the cute Betsy which really engage you as their slightly offbeat ways fill every scene. It is the slight quirky side of all of this which makes it work, makes it feel different to so many other comedies and with a variety of Elvis impersonators in the background there is plenty of amusement going on along with a heavily Elvis influenced soundtrack, well we are talking Nicolas Cage and Las Vegas so what do expect.
What is particularly nice is that with this coming earlier on in Nicolas Cage's career he is still at his quirky best. His character Jack Singer is full of frenetic energy especially when he tries to win Betsy back and the facial expression which Cage delivers are amusing and most importantly work. Opposite cage you have James Caan who employs his comedy gangster persona, that slightly quirky tough guy which he would go on to use again in "Mickey Blue Eyes". And in between you have Sarah Jessica Parker who although spends a lot of the time typecast as the cute and beautiful stooge to Caan and Cage, she does have a few scenes where she comes to life although it has to be said that her humour is more sitcom style even back then. The good thing is that all together the 3 work well; the highly nervous Jack, the slightly shady Tommie and the strong minded Betsy are an amusing trio.
But it is the supporting performances which actually help make "Honeymoon in Vegas" memorable from Johnny Williams as Johnny Sandwich the food obsessed right hand man to Tommy, Pat Morita as taxi driver Mahi Mahi and the wonderful Peter Boyle who is a hoot as the musical obsessed Chief Orman, a character which some have cited as a way for director Andrew Bergman to get back at Marlon Brando for savaging his previous movie "The Freshman".
What this all boils down to is that "Honeymoon in Vegas" is a very enjoyable romantic comedy with the emphasis being on the comedy rather than romance. It's full of slightly oddball moments and quirky characters which will have you laughing. It's by no means a great romantic comedy, but makes a nice difference to the overly unoriginal and commercial rom-coms which get made these days.