Sunday, November 3, 2013

Review: Last Vegas

Image courtesy of CBS Films.
Let's get this out of the way first: Yes, "Last Vegas" is a complete money-grab, a version of "The Hangover" for the 60-plus set that asks four Academy-Award winners to engage in Viagra jokes and act drunk and disorderly before the schmaltz finally settles in.

That being said, you could certainly find a worse time at the movies because, let's face it, it's always a pleasure to watch Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline - even when they're slumming it a bit.

And the film is often funny enough, with Kline getting most of the best - but typically, age-oriented - one liners. Case in point: Kline is asked how he is handling his retirement in Florida with his wife: "I'm at a dinner party at 4 in the afternoon," he quips.

There are very few surprises here. The four characters were part of a group known as the Flatbush Four, which prompts the semi-awkward scenes set in Brooklyn in the late 1950s.

Years later, Paddy (De Niro) and Billy (Douglas) are barely speaking, while Archie (Freeman) is dealing with some health troubles and an overly worrisome son and Sam is suffering through the aforementioned retirement in Florida.

As the title ensures you, the four men will travel to Las Vegas to celebrate long-time bachelor Billy's upcoming wedding to a woman who is 30 years younger. And just wouldn't ya know that a woman (Mary Steenburgen) who is, perhaps, more age appropriate comes into the picture.

"Last Vegas" doesn't have much of a reason to exist and it's fairly formulaic. But it's not without its moments and the cast does its best with the material. The film may merely be an excuse for these great actors to work together or, worse and more likely, just a paycheck. But let's put it this way, in terms of actors of a certain age trying their hands at broad comedy, "Vegas" is much more tolerable than, say, "Wild Hogs" or "The Bucket List."

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