One thing you know for certain when you put thespian greats Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, and Robert De Niro in a movie together is that you will not be disappointed. Director Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure”) and writer Dan Fogelman (“Crazy, Stupid, Love”) partner up for a funnier-than-expected, yet, predictable popcorn flick that follows four sixty-somethings’ trip to Las Vegas to throw a bachelor party for their last remaining single pal. The film is nothing more than a sentimental shtick but it leaves audiences satisfied.
“Billy, how’d you get more hair?…His ass”
Billy (Michael Douglas) is a wealthy businessman who has avoided matrimony his whole life. Upon proposing to his 30 year old girlfriend while orating a eulogy at his mentor’s funeral, he calls up the old (literally) gang to celebrate with him. Contrasting his luxurious and exciting life, Billy’s lifelong pals Sam (Kevin Kline), Archie (Morgan Freeman), and Paddy (Robert De Niro) deal with retirement, ailing health, and the passing of loved ones. A bachelor party is exactly what they need to revitalize their monotonous lives, bumping hips and bashing faces of youngsters in the process.
It’s in Las Vegas where they encounter party-obssessed youths like Dean (“Entourage”‘s Jerry Ferrara), and who-has-the-bounciest-boobies contests officiated by Redfoo (of LFMAO). There’s also the beautiful, aging lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburger), who quickly becomes the love interest for both Billy and Paddy, mimicking how both men fought over the same girl 58 years previous. This serves as the catalyst for Billy to contemplate his upcoming marriage and Paddy to move past the mourning of his recently deceased wife.
“50 Cent, Curtis Jackson!…Oh, from the Jackson 5, gotcha”
The premise is simple: four old guys party with young people, with both sides gaining valuable life lessons from the other. Once I saw these four legends on the same billing, I knew they would deliver. These guys have careers spanning four decades, so audiences needn’t worry about bland acting – not that any of their performances were Oscar-worthy, though. They were essentially playing themselves: four elderly men poking fun at their age, each other, and the vast generational gap between them and the Las Vegas population. Self-deprecating jokes are always funny, especially when in reality these four actors are at the top of their game and their popularity has not waned for 40 years.
I didn’t even know Fogelman wrote the script until the end credits, making the film all the more delightful. I thought “Crazy, Stupid, Love” was great, with fully developed characters and believably-sentimental problems. That’s exactly what you get in “Last Vegas,” a perfect mix of humour and sentiment that doesn’t take itself seriously given its stacked cast, writer, and director. It even has a cameo of 50 Cent asking the guys if he can come party, to which he is rejected, and then asks them to keep the music down. HA!
“I’ll find water to take my pills, then we’ll get this party started”
The good and bad thing about the film is its predictable plot. It is the standard definition of a Hollywood movie that has a trifecta of an appropriate story-line, jokes, and appeal for demographics both young and old, with bankable and reliable stars to bring in the big bucks. It’s a nicely packaged film that explicitly outlines the character’s problems in the first act, which ends up being resolved by the end.
Take it for what it is – a mindless but enjoyable popcorn flick. It’s no cinematic masterpiece like the stars’ myriad of earlier films and it will most likely be excluded from the Hollywood pantheon of greatness. The film is just an excuse to get these four together in the same movie because everyone’s been waiting for something like that to happen for ages. Well, we finally got what we asked for. Despite its tagline, the film is not legendary, but it’s a lot of fun.