Honeymoon In Vegas: A Cinematic Lesson In Gambling

Honeymoon in Vegas is just about everything you might expect from a Nicholas Cage movie. It’s over the top, it’s preposterous, it’s weird and it’s absolutely amazingly fun. The movie is basically a romantic comedy, but it also deals a bit with issues like making promises you can’t keep, having an unhealthy relationship with one’s mother, being a bad gambler and not being able to back up your bet with your cards. And even though I’m not a really big fan of Nicholas Cage or Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays the female lead, I enjoyed this movie more than I thought I would.

The movie starts us off with Jack Singer (Cage) promising his mother that he will love her forever and, due to that fact, will never ever get married. This brings to light the usual emotional issues we have come to expect from a Cage character. We then fast forward a few years and find Cage being a bit pressured into marriage by his girlfriend, Betsy (Parker). After being torn between his promise to his late mother and the love for his girlfriend, Jack finally decides to forego the former and make Betsy his wife. In fact, he is so determined that he can’t wait any longer and they decide to elope to Vegas.

However, before they can tie the knot and visit the casino, a very rich professional gambler, Tommy Korman (played by James Caan) takes a fancy to Betsy, who looks very much like Tommy’s late wife. He doesn’t take long to come up with an insidious plan to take her away from Cage’s character. He invites Jack to a fixed poker game and makes him believe he can win. With a straight flush to the jack, Singer bets a huge amount, only to find out that Tommy has a straight flush to the queen. With an impossible debt of $65.000, Jack becomes desperate. However, Tommy conveniently arranges to settle the debt if he can borrow Jack’s girlfriend for the weekend.

After making him promise there will be no sex involved, the couple agrees to the deal. But things get complicated beyond this point and Jack has to go through a heap of trouble in order to finally get his happy ending. For example, at one point of the movie he has to overcome paralyzing fear in order to skydive from 3,000 feet along with a group of Flying Elvises, as that is his only way to get to Betsy in time.

The movie in itself is a journey, from the bad kind of gambling that got Cage into trouble, to gambling even with his life to get back what he loves most. From this point of view, I think many gamblers will relate to the main character. We all make bad decisions in a casino sometimes and, more often than not, we have to pay dearly when the slots don’t drop in our favor. But the movie shows that even that kind of scenario isn’t an end-all if you are in Vegas, as the strip is truly the land of all possibilities.