The Review: 'Last Vegas' is an Amiable Time-Waster

The Review: 'Last Vegas' is an Amiable Time-Waster

Nov 01, 2013

Come to Las Vegas, everybody. Stay at the Aria. 50 Cent goes there sometimes. You can have his preferred schmancy suite if you've got the scratch. They have a Cirque Du Soleil show, too. Not the naked one. A different one. If you're a bunch of old dudes looking to calmly, gently, politely re-enact The Hangover and your names are Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman and Robert De Niro, your caretakers will even provide you with Olympic competition-style number placards to hold up as bikini-ladies walk past you poolside and pose, hoping with all their might that you'll score them as a perfect 10 (old women need not apply because they are gross, obviously). That one guy from LMFAO will give you a comedy lapdance. At night the bikini ladies change into slinky dresses for you and sit on your lap in the discotheque. They love you.

The plot of this amiable time-waster involves the four lifelong pals reuniting for Douglas's bachelor party weekend before he marries a woman many decades his junior. Old scores need to be settled, old grievances aired and old Viagra jokes put on display. Mary Steenburgen pops up to be romanced by both Douglas and De Niro, echoing a similar love triangle that played out in their younger days, one that saw De Niro walk away with the girl. Freeman gets drunk on Red Bull and vodka, then dances (sort of) to Earth, Wind & Fire with a Cher impersonator. De Niro gives signature grumpy face and punches Turtle from Entourage. The labels on the booze bottles all face the camera and the Cirque cast members wander around the perimeter of the action in full costume, makeup and mugging mime-like personas.

Was there a script involved in making this movie? Maybe. Maybe just an outline and the direction from Jon Turtletaub (whose prior credits include 3 Ninjas, Cool Runnings, While You Were Sleeping and both National Treasure movies) for the four immensely appealing actors to hang out and act ingratiatingly goofy. And at times that's enough. You forget for long stretches that almost nothing is happening, that's how easy it is for these guys to coast on charm, especially Freeman and Kline, both of whom feel as if they're ad-libbing their best lines.

It's barely about friendship, though, much less about aging or mortality or the last of anything. Instead it's more like a chilled out, weapons-free RED or a romance-and-emotion-stripped Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, an experiment in what might be a fledgling genre, the geriatric "bro" movie where beloved actors existing in front of a camera is considered justification for propping up a film around it. Are you down for that? Sure, probably, if it's an option on a little screen embedded into that coach seat right in front of you on a cross-country flight. What else are you going to do, nap? Well, this is just like that, only with pictures.


Categories: Reviews
Tags: Last Vegas
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