Craig's First Take: "Last Vegas"
on 2013-10-29 11:14
Last Vegas” isn’t so much a movie I felt I had to review as one I just ended up submitting to. It’s based solely on a conventional plot you can see coming a mile-a-way and jokes that are as old as the people they’re making fun of. But here four Oscar winners go a long way. I really couldn’t stop thinking that the target audience for this is going to find these guys instantly winning, no matter the mediocrity of the material they're stuck in.
Robert DeNiro is a crabby old widower named Patty, Kevin Kline is Sam, unhappily married and losing any sense of fun as he gets older, and Morgan Freeman is Archie, who can’t stand being babied by his adult son after he has a stroke. The fourth member of the group is Billy (Michael Douglas), trying to feel young by popping the question to his much younger girlfriend. All these guys have been friends since childhood and what better way to re-learn a thing or two about cutting loose than a trip to Vegas for a bachelor party.
Dan Fogelman’s script is never wanting for another joke at the expense of old men- how no one calls anymore unless to say their dying, how a dinner at four pm is common place, Lipitor, the pathetic older man-younger woman jokes- it’s all here. Very few are actually hilarious but it comes off like good-natured ribbing at the very least (and I have to say I chucked quite a bit) and it’s far better than the few times it tries to make fun of older women, which just come off as cruel.
As far as plot, Patty and Billy are involved in a feud based on something that happened in the past. It’s not even in question how this will end but DeNiro and Douglas are pros who can wring some honest emotion out of it. A lounge singer named Diana (Mary Steenburgen, a pleasure to have in comedies) winds up hanging out with the guys for the weekend. There’s a bikini contest the guys wind up judging. And it’s equally fun watching Freeman tear it up on the dance floor or Kline look for a sexual conquest after his wife gives him a free pass for the weekend.
Director Jon Turteltaub leaves no Vegas movie cliché unturned- from the guys trailing hot girls to the wild parties where the booze flows-just this time the guys are considerably older and a little wiser than the usual "Hangover" guys. Patty, Sam, Archie, and Billy's time in Vegas is both sentimental and that sorta-cute version of funny. I for one got a little tired of this movie around the 45 minute mark, I think I stopped taking notes shortly after that. “Last Vegas” is pretty much effortless but even though I can’t recommend it, I feel like I still kind of am. These guys are likable and know how to be funny and if that’s all you require, you’ll leave this movie delighted.