Release: Friday, November 1, 2013
In Vegas, high-priced hookers are a dime a dozen; senior citizens crashing parties, hooking up with girls half their age and going on a bender — eh, not so much. Those types are a little harder to find.
Fortunately, four such individuals may be found parading around the infamous Strip in Last Vegas, as Billy (Douglas), Paddy (DeNiro), Archie (Freeman) and Sam (Kline) head to Sin City for a weekend of debauchery (thanks, Geritol!) in order to pop the final corkscrew for this group of lifelong friends as Billy finds himself engaged to a 30-year-old woman whom he barely identities with.
Right from the opening shot it’s clear this is not a movie that is to be taken seriously. Or, well. . .at least not too seriously. While it has its moments of tenderness, the whole point of Last Vegas is about enjoying life as it comes to you, and saying sod it all, I’m here to have a good time and get on with the getting on. To that, I say cheers, and raise many a beer to this commendable, collaborative effort between a stellar cast and a director who know exactly what they are setting out to do — making visual jokes at the expense of an aging group of stars, while ruminating on the nature of relationships amongst friends as they age together.
Granted, the plot’s paper-thin, and there will be more than a few times throughout where someone is going to be wondering how many times déjà vu can hit them in a single movie — there’s no doubt there are similarities to the outrageous hit comedy, The Hangover (what with all the drunken banter, inexplicable behavior and general distrust of one another in a city that likes to bring out the worst in people). But this is no Vegas Vacation reincarnation or an attempt to repackage Todd Phillips’ vision of Vegas for a less-hip crowd. It’s much too formulaic for the former, and the presence of the four actors gives a script far more weight than what Helms, Cooper, Galifianakis and Bartha could ever bring to their own, insane lines.
Indeed, a story about four six-decade-long friends coming together to celebrate the last guy’s fleeting bachelorhood in this group of highly likable characters is its own brand of enjoyable. It’s not daring, nor really that adventurous. But it’s good, harmless fun, and that’s all that it needed to be. Nothing more, nothing less.
Last Vegas is a great last hoorah involving four top-notch actors who simply cruise their way to another nice paycheck, having a grand old time poking fun of one another’s (likely) real-life insecurities and charming some lovely ladies along the way. Look to DeNiro and Douglas to do some of the dramatic heavylifting, and Kline and Freeman for the best goofs. Jerry Ferrara makes an appearance as a casino punk who has a small run-in with the gang; Mary Steenburgen plays the charming Diana who they meet in a small club their first night in town. And of course, a film is never complete until you get Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson to make a cameo. For those desperate to continue to draw comparisons, consider him the Mike Tyson of this outing.
Recommendation: Unless you somehow just severely dislike any of the actors or are opposed to sentimentality inspired by its highly likable cast, Last Vegas should prove to be a fun enough escape for a little while. Nothing particularly memorable, but this wasn’t the goal in the first place and it shouldn’t be taken for anything more than that.
Running Time: 90 mins.
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