Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Honeymoon in Vegas (1992)

Deathbed promises can be tricky things.

Bea Singer (Anne Bancroft) wants her son Jack (Nicholas Cage) to vow he will never marry. "No girl could love you like I could," she tells him just moments before her demise.

Jack's promise, and his day-to-day encounters with marital infidelity as a private eye, convince him to hold off from marrying his long-time girlfriend, Grade 2 teacher Betsy (Sarah Jessica Parker).


She's patient, to a point, but wonders if he'll ever decide to settle down. It takes an ultimatum from Betsy to finally convince Jack to take the plunge. On the spur of the moment, he decides the New York couple should fly to Las Vegas and get married.

No sooner do the couple check into Bally's (for fun, count how many references are made to the well-known Sin City hotel in the film's 92-minute running time) then Betsy catches the eye of professional gambler Tommy Korman (James Caan).

Betsy is a virtual lookalike of his dead, and much-missed, wife Donna (also played by Parker in flashbacks). Korman sets up a card came and invites Jack to attend. When the private eye loses a spectacular amount of cash and is in debt to Korman, the grieving card player offers him an out.

Let me spend a few days with Betsy and the debt is forgiven.

Here's where things get interesting.

Korman treats Betsy royally. He wants to get married and have children. These are all things Betsy wants, but Jack just can't commit himself to.

He finally takes action, including enlisting the help of a bunch of skydiving Elvises, to win his girl back.


For a comedy, the laughs are on the modest side. But there are about a half-dozen true laugh-out loud moments in this film. Cage is at his most amusing when he goes ballistic in his frustrated attempts to get Betsy back.

There's a running gag of a client of Singer's who's convinced his wife is having an affair with Mike Tyson that also generates some good laughs.


The soundtrack is solid, with plenty of tunes from the King of Rock and Roll himself to covers of Elvis Presley's greatest hits by major talent such as Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Amy Grant and Travis Tritt.

Besides Bancroft, there's also small roles of two other much-missed actors. Peter Boyle is pretty much wasted as Chief Orman, a Broadway-loving eccentric tucked away in a rundown shack. Pat Morita, from The Karate Kid and Happy Days, is taxi driver Mahi Mahi.

Honeymoon in Vegas is a rare directorial turn by Andrew Bergman. He directed six films between 1981 and 2000 ending with Isn't She Great.

Rating: 7/10

Cast: James Caan, Nicholas Cage, Sarah Jessica Parker, Pat Morita, Peter Boyle, Anne Bancroft.

FUN FACTS: Cage and Bergman reunited for It Could Happen to You. Bruno Mars, who appeared as Little Elvis, has written several songs that have appeared on the television show, Glee. Robert Kim, Oriental Elvis in Honeymoon in Vegas, appeared as Det. Steven Lim in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. That film starred Parker's eventual husband, Matthew Broderick. They married in 1997. A year before Ferris Bueller's release in 1986, Parker appeared in Girls Just Want to Have Fun based on Cyndi Lauper's hit song. One of her co-stars was Helen Hunt.

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