Movie Details

Heaviliy promoted by CBS before its "preview" unveiling on October 18, 2007--and its subsequent "official" debut on October 21--Viva Laughlin was based on the British series Viva Blackpool. The nominal hero was Ripley Holden (Lloyd Owen), a minor-league casino owner who hoped to hit it big with a lavish new gambling emporium in Laughlin, Nevada, the celebrated "mini-Las Vegas" located some 20 miles south of Sin City along the Colorado river. Alas, no sooner had Ripley arrived at his still-under-construction hotel-casino than he learned that his biggest investor had pulled out all his money. Shortly afterward, the investor turned up dead, placing Ripley under the close scrutiny of two somewhat shady characters: casino mogul Nick Fontana (Hugh Jackman, also one of the series' executive producers), who dearly coveted our hero's property; and detective Peter Carlyle (Eric Winter), who suspected Ripley of murder. Peter in fact was so determined to get the goods on Mr. Holden that he pretended to fall in love with Ripley's vacillating wife Natalie (Madchen Amick). Ever lurking in the background was Bunny (Melanie Griffith), the sexy widow of the dead investor, who dropped subtle hints that she knew more than anyone else of what was really going on. Perhaps because the CBS ad campaign misleadingly suggested that Hugh Jackman and Melanie Griffith were the stars of the show instead of secondary characters, or perhaps because viewers were confused by the series' heady blend of mystery, comedy, sexual intrigue, fantasy and out-of-left-field musical numbers, Viva Laughlin failed to win its timeslot. Truth to tell, it didn't even place or show, and was the first big casualty of the 2007-2008 season, cancelled after a scant three episodes. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi