l a s t v e g a s
3rd January 2013
5th December 2013
Getting the band back together is always a risky move, there’s probably a reason it’s no longer together… equally risky is dragging more than a couple of huge stars together for one (probably not really) last big payday. It’s a win win for the stars. They get to hang out with their mates, have a nice time and earn a nice big pay cheque. The audience? Well, sometimes we get The Expendables. More often we get The Expendables 2.
We begin Last Vegas with the kind of 50’s escapades that only exist in movies. Four friends hang around, take loads of passport photos of each other, stand up to a bully and look longingly at the same girl. Fast forward 58 years and we pick up with said four friends as they go about four different versions on the same theme.
Michael Douglas’ Billy is rich, perma-tanned and dating a woman half his age, Morgan Freeman’s Archie has had a mild episode (as his son terms it) and so is under the constant watch of his loving family, Kevin Kline’s Sam is fending off inane dinner parties with his wife of 40 plus years and Robert De Niro’s Paddy is sulking in his apartment alone, fending off terrible soup from his neighbour. Before we know it, Billy has accidentally proposed to his girlfriend whilst giving a eulogy at a friend’s funeral and the boys are off to Vegas for his big bachelor party. Archie is looking to flee the confines of his family’s overbearing love, Sam is given a condom and a viagra by his wife at the airport so is looking for a one night stand and Paddy…. well, Paddy was tricked into going and isn’t happy with any of this.
With four eminently watchable stars, this movie was never going to be a complete waste of viewing and the boys are on reasonable form. Kline is the standout, making me wonder constantly why we don’t see more of him these days. A quick glance at this CV makes me think he should fire his agent as he is clearly way above the tosh of Wild Wild West and the pointless Pink Panther remake. Here he has great fun as the newly invigorated Sam. Comfortably numb when he begins, his wife’s shock gift at the airport wakes him from his slumber - his initial attempts at pulling in Vegas are pretty amusing as he misses the mark somewhat with a male Madonna impersonator. Somebody give this man a good script.
Douglas is worth turning up for the movie for by himself but probably not the way he’d want to be. The opening shot of him has him turn to a mirror and for just a second, I swear it was Kirk on the screen rather than his son. Other than that, his Billy is the source of the main tension in the movie with De Niro’s Paddy. Turns out they both liked the same girl when they were kids and one ended up with her and the other didn’t. One missed funeral later and they’re not exact the best of friends any more. De Niro can do this kind of performance over a fax machine and to be fair, he doesn’t get the most interesting role here, left to skulk around moaning at everything that occurs.
Freeman has far more fun with his Archie, him and Kline getting one of the best sight gags you’ll have seen recently (unforgivably spoilt by being in the trailer) and by himself gets probably the best gag of the movie (also ruined by being in the trailer). The delightful Mary Steenburgen is given just about enough to do to convince as the empty nester accountant turned lounge singer who turns both Billy and Paddy’s heads.
Jon Turtletaub’s CV isn’t what you’d call edgy so I wasn’t expecting a great deal from Last Vegas. On the whole, I’d say it just about delivered on my expectations. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the movie, for the first twenty minutes it’s actually pretty funny, it has a decent level of wit and the whole thing is gently amusing throughout. The stars do enough to justify their presence and as mentioned above, it’s worth seeing for Kevin Kline alone. Is it worth you braving the winter and shelling out for the big screen though? Not really, think of it more as a solid pick for your Love Film list.
Check out the trailer here.