There are plenty of movies that involve a story of several old friends getting together to relive their former glory – or hang out for one last hurrah. Usually, played for laughs, these stories can be pretty funny. Space Cowboys was a recent comedy, featuring a bunch of old dudes.
Last Vegas is the story of four old friends, Billy, Paddy, Archie, and Sam who are getting together because Billy is getting remarried (to a much younger woman) in Las Vegas. They grew up together in New York, and have since spread out throughout the country.
Billy and Paddy had a falling out after Paddy’s wife died, and they have not spoken in about a year. Billy was delivering a eulogy at the funeral of a friend, which made him realize his own mortality, and he proposed to his young girlfriend during the eulogy. Sam and Archie travel to New York to convince Paddy to travel with them to Vegas for the wedding. Hijinks ensue. These hijinks include winning a bunch of money, staying in the penthouse suite, meeting a lounge singer, clubbing, getting in a fight with a young hothead, and throwing a huge bachelor party.
The movie is lighthearted and fun, and really non-committal. By that, I mean that you really do not feel attached to any particular character, but you do enjoy the story. Each of the four main actors is wonderful – that goes without saying, however the movie is harmless fluff. Honestly, I appreciated the smart humor and the scenes with the four of them together playing off each other. The movie is funny, but not hilarious. It is directed by Jon Turteltaub, who did both the National Treasure movies (which were great) and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (which is better than you think).
Usually in a movie with a cast this old, the story attempts to throw in a drama storyline by making one of the characters sick and/or dying – spoiler alert – no one in this movie is sick and/or dying. Everyone makes it through, and it has a happy ending. It’s the perfect little piece of fluff for this time of year, when your other options are mainly heavy-duty Oscar-bait pieces.
- Michael Douglas plays Billy, and his fake tan is exceptionally off-putting, as well as his relationship with a woman less than half his age. Don’t worry, his buddies give him plenty of crap for that. Douglas does get the chance to show his range and have a few dramatic scenes. He’s good, and certainly capable for this movie.
- Robert deNiro plays Paddy, and while given the chance to show his range, he continues to show the range that he has become famous for – which is mainly slightly irritated to angry. But hey, it’s Robert deNiro, you’re not expecting more than that from him.
- Morgan Freeman plays Archie and of course has the best lines – but then, he is Morgan Freeman. He’s better at comedy than I expected. The scene where he sneaks out of his house so as not to upset his son is particularly funny.
- Kevin Kline plays Sam, and his character was the one I liked the least, not his fault, he was fine, but his character is all excited because his wife gave him a condom for his trip and permission to cheat, so he spends the majority of the front half of the movie looking for some strange. It’s awkward, and yes – somewhat funny, but mainly just awkward.
- Mary Steenburgen plays the lounge singer Diana, who of course suddenly draws the attention of two of our leads. She’s fine, I’m pretty sure she wasn’t doing her own singing, but she looks great and was very funny in her directness.
- Jerry Ferrara basically plays Turtle – or Dean as he’s called in this movie. He’s funny, and has a good time, but doesn’t do anything you haven’t seen him do before.
- Romany Malco plays Lonnie, which is basically the same character you’ve seen him play before. He’s the very helpful hotel employee who caters to the guys’ wants.
- The stunning Michael Ealy plays Archie’s son Ezra, and has very few scenes, but they are well-crafted enough to completely begin and end his character arc.
Like I said, the movie is harmless fun – and I liked that no one died. Keep your expectations low and you'll be pleased.
7 out of 10 – Gained points for Michael Ealy, lost points for deNiro being touted as one of the greatest actors (sorry, I don’t get it), at least he’s good in this. Gained points for RedFoo griding on deNiro – now that’s comedy – Lost points for the obligatory Vegas girl bikini contest. Gained points for the ending that may or may not lead into a sequel. We’ll see.
Bonus Video 1: A Fish Called Wanda – Kevin Kline has rarely been as funny as he was in this:
Bonus Video 2: The cast reading current pop lyrics – hilarious.
Bonus Video 3: Cast Interviews - Talking on the Talk