Last Vegas - Review
Last Vegas ticks the boxes as a light-hearted, entertaining comedy, as long as you’re in the market for a multitude of clunky jokes about getting old. The film has been marketed as ‘the Hangover for oldies’, which initially concerned me, given my open contempt for the inane Hangover series, but this film has a lot more going for it. Just as I noted with last year’s One Chance,this film will play gangbusters to an older audience, so it’s not a bad one to recommend to your parents.
In a classic case of art imitating life, career bachelor Billy (Michael Douglas) has decided to settle down and marry, the only snag being that his bride-to-be is half his age. In an attempt to prove that he can still party like it’s 1972, he rounds up his childhood gang, comprising Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline), for a bucks’ weekend in Las Vegas. Everything isn’t as rosy as Billy had wanted, as old rivalries are awoken when sultry lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen) saunters into the action, prompting Billy to look deep into his past in order to work out his future.
This film worked for me because of the casting. Maybe it’s just me, but I get a kick out of watching veteran actors trading harmless barbs. The story is structured so that Douglas is pitted against De Niro, whilst Freeman and Kline are the comedic relief. De Niro is at his squinty-eyed, smirking best as he poo-poos every idea Michael Douglas comes up with. Despite the generally light tone of the film, De Niro and Douglas have their share of touching scenes, which they each deliver commendably to give the film more emotional weight than I was expecting. Mary Steenburgen (my Back to the Future 3 crush) isn’t given as much screen time as I would have liked, but she’s lots of fun and brings her special brand of sex appeal to the mix.
Directed by Jon Turtletaub (National Treasure, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Cool Runnings), the film has a direct-to-DVD quality, in that there isn’t anything particularly cinematic about it. Annoyingly, there are sequences that feel way too forced. For instance, for no plausible reason, the guys are recruited to judge a bikini contest. This serves no other purpose except as a protracted joke about older men ogling scantily clad 20 year olds. It’s not that funny and reeked of filler material.
There are enough chuckles to warrant a viewing but I wouldn’t race out to catch it in the cinema. There are far better films in cinemas at the moment and this one will play just fine at home.