Review: Last Vegas
PLOT: Four old friends (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman & Kevin Kline) reunite for a weekend in Las Vegas when one of them (Douglas) decides to marry his much-younger girlfriend.
REVIEW: The pitch for LAST VEGAS must have been something along the lines of “THE HANGOVER for old guys” although by looking at the combined CV’s the four stars, they may just as well have said “THE HANGOVER for Oscar winners.” As the movie that finally unites these four- all of them legends- LAST VEGAS can’t help but be disappointing. It’s such a run-of-the-mill romp, that you can’t help but think that these guys clearly had more fun making it than any of us will have watching it.
Probably the only really nice thing that can be said about LAST VEGAS is that director Jon Turteltaub, despite his family-friendly filmography (PHENOMENON, THE KID, the NATIONAL TREASURE series) makes this a tad raunchier than you’d expect (but still only PG-13) and doesn’t dial up the schmaltz too much, preventing this from becoming, God forbid, another BUCKET LIST. It tries to maintain a fairly light tone throughout, although this is one of those comedies that- for a tolerant audience- might be called “pleasant” rather than funny.
For the more cynical viewers (such as myself) LAST VEGAS is pretty ho-hum, if never downright painful to watch. It certainly feels like a bit of a waste of all the talent involved, and is not unlike the time Michael’s father Kirk Douglas, teamed with Burt Lancaster in the eighties comedy TOUGH GUYS. For four legends, you’d wish they had something a little more profound to chew on.
The first half hour of LAST VEGAS is actually not bad. Douglas and De Niro both play to type, with Douglas being the womanizing slickster, while De Niro is the down-to-earth tough guy with a grudge, as Douglas blew of his beloved wife’s funeral years earlier. It’s fun watching these two legends nag and try to one-up each other as they vie for the affections of a sultry Vegas chanteuse (played by a likable and attractive Mary Steenburgen). Kline- who’s been away from comedy too long- and Freeman are even better as the two henpecked guys (Kline by his wife, Freeman by his over-protective son) who just want to cut loose and party. Freeman, who’s always so serious, seems to be having the time of his life playing drunk, while Kline reminds us all of what a pro he is as he chases bikini clad girls (with his wife having given him a Viagra and a condom telling him “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”.
Whatever momentum Turteltaub has going for him up to this point wears off around the time the four guys find themselves judging a bathing suit competition, which proves to be wildly unfunny, especially when half of LMFAO starts dry-humping De Niro’s face while wearing a tiny speedo. The rest of the shenanigans are pretty tepid, with Turteltaub always backing-off anytime the film threatens to really get raunchy, and as a result it all feels like a bad eighties comedy, complete with several musical montages. By the time 50 Cent shows up in a cameo, you’ll be eagerly waiting for the credits to roll.As much as LAST VEGAS bored me, I should admit that the audience of mostly 60+ folks I saw this with were in absolute hysterics throughout. The movie ends with the possibility (threat?) of a sequel, and it’s very possible that this may happen. If it does, hopefully Turteltaub will find a way to make the most of his talented cast, as this just feels so minor. It’s not a terrible film by any stretch, but it’s just not very good either.