Starring: Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Jerry Ferrara, Romany Malco.
Rated: PG-13. Comedy. Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes.
An A-list foursome of old codgers head to Vegas and rip it up. Sounds like my last trip out there; just kidding. Seriously though, I’m not quite as old as those boys but some of the themes hit pretty close to home. Billy (Douglas) is getting married to a woman less than half his age, and he needs his three best friends to come to Vegas for his bachelor party. Archie (Freeman), Sam (Kline) and Paddy (De Niro) come from New York, Jersey and Florida to complete the “Flatbush Four”. They’ve known each other for fifty years and even though they’re thousands of miles apart, they’re as close as ever. One problem, Paddy is seriously pissed at Billy for missing his wife’s funeral. There is more to the story, but I’ll let you find that out for yourself. The guys quickly meet an interesting lounge singer of a certain age, Diana (Steenburgen); and make an impression in the casino, which leads to a comped suite. Things move at a fast pace in Last Vegas, and you get the feeling the guys can hear their clocks ticking down. The prostate jokes, references to small strokes and oodles of prescription meds are flying around, but the chemistry between these four legends is smooth as silk, and they really feel like lifelong buddies.
When I first saw the previews for Last Vegas I thought, “It’s ‘The Hangover’, geriatric style.” Which it kind of is. But I love these four guys and they keep it entertaining. They can laugh at themselves and they genuinely seem like they’re having a good time doing it. The four friends embark on this spontaneous trip, each hoping that it will breathe new life into their progressively mundane lives. Kline is suffering through water aerobics classes at his Florida community. Freeman is being treated like a big child, nearly imprisoned in his son’s Jersey home. DeNiro is a grieving widower and he spends his days sitting around his apartment in a bathrobe and refusing soup from a concerned neighbor. Douglas appears to be the only one of the ‘Flatbush Four’ with blood coursing through his veins. He’s got a beautiful young lady on his arm and a successful business. But he’s still unsatisfied. He’s faced with his own mortality at a close friend’s funeral and pops the question to his ‘child bride’, as they so often refer to her.
We can certainly relate to the Douglas’ story line as Maria and I are getting married in August and we have a fairly significant difference in age. Unlike these relationship stereotypes, which are clearly on display here, I am not rich and Maria is not an empty-headed bimbo. I am also not quite ready for the nursing home, but can clearly relate with the guys facing down their own mortality and fears of not being able to live life to it’s fullest. Beyond all of what appears to be morbid subject matter, Last Vegas is an enjoyable watch. As I mentioned the action is fast paced, the laughs are plentiful and there are some decent supporting roles. Steenburgen is sultry, and surprisingly can carry a decent tune, as the lounge singer/possible love interest. Romany Malco (from 40-Year Old Virgin) is great as the guys’ reluctant at first concierge, he was supposed to be handling 50 cent for the weekend. And Jerry Ferrara is very Turtle-like (his role in the HBO series Entourage) as Dean, a cocky bar rat who gets knocked down a peg or two and becomes the Flatbush Four’s personal boy Friday. Certainly not going to be a cinematic classic, but I saw enough to hope they have at least one sequel in them. One final note, keep an eye out for the scene where Morgan Freeman’s character has one too many Red Bull vodkas. We’ve all seen, or been, that guy before. “It’s like being drunk and electrocuted all at the same time!”
Freeman was the highlight for me. He provided the best laughs and was my personal favorite character. The bar scene Ross is referring to is literally the best five minutes of the whole movie. But there’s a few more laugh out loud moments. The ‘child bride’ storyline is formulaic and the age difference is much more substantial in this plot than our real life relationship. The young woman is always portrayed as a money grubbing, ditzy bimbo. And honestly, I can’t blame them for this. I’ve seen that stereotype played out in real life. Fortunately, it does not at all reflect our story. I think I would have played my hand a bit better if that was my mission. Firstly, I’d get some filthy rich Palm Beach resident. I’d have my eye on someone with more money than God. And secondly, he’d be attached to some oxygen and rapidly approaching his expiration date. What does this look like, amateur hour? Last Vegas turned out to be a pleasant surprise. These four seasoned actors don’t take themselves too seriously in the film and that translates on screen. It was most certainly a better choice than watching ‘The Hangover 3″.
Ross’ Rating: 3.5 Gummy Bears out of 5.
Maria’s Rating: 3.5 Gummies.