<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Jon Turteltaub. Starring Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Jerry Ferrara, Romany Malco, Roger Bart, Joanna Gleason
Comparing this film to The Hangover but with old guys instead of strapping lads like Bradley Cooper is a bit unfair. Last Vegas tries to shock you but never quite manages. Still, with almost a half-a-dozen worth of Oscar-winning actors packed in, Last Vegas manages to be a relatively nice watch.
The set up about childhood friends is brief and the slide that says ‘58 Years Later’ is brilliant. Unfortunately, the movie doesn’t quite live up to this humorous promise. Well at least not to laugh out loud proportions.
Catching our four protagonists a bit past their peak in life, the film carefully shows us where each of them has arrived: Billy (Michael Douglas) is older now but still takes care of his looks and has a girlfriend half his age. He proposes to her while delivering a friend’s eulogy, clearly signalling a post mid-life crisis and desperate attempt at not being alone. When his buddy Sam (Kevin Kline) – who lives in the retirement state of Florida – finds, out he suggests that the four musketeers have a huge blow out of a bachelor party in Las Vegas.
Archie (Morgan Freeman), a stroke survivor, agrees but now they have to get their friend Paddy (Robert De Niro) from out of his self-imposed state of depression after his childhood sweetheart wife passed away (and his best bud Billy didn’t bother to turn up for the funeral, but then she was his childhood sweetheart as well!). The friction between Billy and Paddy does make for some nice moments in the film but you pretty much know what’s coming by the end.
Lots of wisecracks and jokes about old age, weak hips and knees are used. They’re not the funniest but it thanks to the timeless charm of these veterans and much loved actors, they make you smile. We all know that there’s loads of acting life left in all of them but seeing them as vulnerable people – and not the bulldozing giants we’re used to – puts things in a different perspective. Of course as people they all face ailments and dilemmas. Michael Douglas himself has struggled with cancer of the tongue and marital problems with his hot actress wife Catherine Zeta-Jones.
Anyway, in Las Vegas, the gang proceed to judge a bikini contest, party at a nightclub, gamble (and win loads of money), and meet a down and out hot singer lady (Mary Steenburgen) of a certain age in a hotel’s lounge bar and then two of the gang proceed to repeat history by falling for the same gal. All while planning a monster bachelor bash in their hotel penthouse to which rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) is not invited (but does show up at the door!), thank you very much!
Now Last Vegas will probably not appeal to a younger crowd but that’s okay. It will appeal to those of us who know these actors. They are talented and can make even cheesy, staid lines (by Dan Fogelman who wrote the much better Crazy, Stupid, Love) sound charming and fun. Even the vulgar bits!
I wish Kevin Kline were in more movies, he’s such a great actor and in my opinion hasn’t been given the chance to stand as high as his three co-stars in Hollywood. I still remember his film Dave. Loved that. Ah nostalgia. And that’s what Last Vegas is really about. Go watch it baby boomers and children of the 80s. Those were the days…