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Just Married

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After a few weeks atop the box office charts, the unstoppable geek-magnet phenomenon known as The Two Towers has been knocked from its perch. One should never underestimate the buying power of teenage girls, for the new number one film is ... Just Married, a new romantic farce that stars two attractive up-and-comers, Ashton Kutcher and Brittany Murphy.

It would be nice to report that this flick is an underestimated gem, but there's a reason this knockabout story of Tom and Sarah, two newlyweds squabbling on their honeymoon, was released in January.

It's a pity the film isn't better, because its premise is reminiscent of such classic Depression-era comedies as Capra's Platinum Blonde and It Happened One Night, which paired rich girls from snooty families with scruffy suitors who got by on their wits and chutzpah, and little else.

But the social conditions that gave rise to those films don't exist anymore, which makes Sarah's stuffy family--complete with silly Chinese butler--ridiculously anachronistic. And Kutcher's Tom is not a working-class upstart, as in the Capra comedies. Instead, he's just a slacker in a backward baseball cap who hasn't made his first million yet.

Instead of up-to-the-minute social satire, Just Married offers fart jokes, pratfalls and a married relationship that is more reminiscent of back-biting high schoolers than of grown-ups.

But hey, this flick is for teenage girls, and accordingly, Murphy is the confident, attractive and witty woman that girls want to be. Meanwhile, Kutcher is appealing as a particularly sentient Tiger Beat catch of the month.

However, Brittany Murphy's adult fans will have to wait for a better project from this talented ham. She's got a little Goldie Hawn in her, but her raspy voice and shameless scene-stealing really belong to the era of Howard Hawks and Frank Capra, whose films featured such brassy and fierce funny ladies as Stanwyck, Russell, Hepburn and Harlow. –David Fellerath

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