½*/**** Image A Sound A- Extras C+
starring Ashton Kutcher, Brittany Murphy, Christian Kane, David Moscow
screenplay by Sam Harper
directed by Shawn Levy
by Walter Chaw Just as 2002 began with Orange County, a disappointing, somewhat lacklustre comedy (though certainly nowhere near as terrible as the film I'm here to review), 2003 begins with Just Married, a comedy so dedicatedly unfunny that the best way to approach it would be through the perspective that it's actually meant to be disturbing. In fact, until the first line of dialogue about a minute in, the picture feels like a mordant, tongue-in-cheek, domestic-horror film--something along the lines of The War of the Roses. It doesn't take long for optimism to give way to extreme predictability, unrelieved puerility, and the creepy realization that Cristophe Beck's invasive score is a riff on Orff's "Musica Poetica," best known perhaps as the main theme to Terence Malick's own black love story Badlands. There seems a realization in other words that a better, darker film about America's fifty-percent divorce rate is waiting frustrated in Just Married's wings.