Review by-Jarrett Leahy
Paddy (De Niro), Billy (Douglas), Archie (Freeman), and Sam (Kline) have been four lifelong friends since their childhood growing up in Brooklyn. When Billy, forever the bachelor, spontaneously proposes to his much younger girlfriend, “The Flatbush Four,” now in their sixties, decide to relive their youth with a Las Vegas bachelor party weekend to send him off in style.
The only real reason to watch Last Vegas is simply to see Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline, a group of legendary actors that have a combined 14 Academy award nominations and 5 acting Oscars between the four of them. It’s an impressive feat that director Jon Turteltaub and Co. were able to get actors of this caliber to all sign on to do this project and there is a genuine camaraderie between all of them. Michael Douglas, in all his orange fake tan glory, perfectly embodies the pompous swagger of a permanent playboy and De Niro is yet again the stereotypical New Yorker complete with a killer right cross. But if I had to choose a leader of this gray haired Rat Pack, it would have to be Morgan Freeman, who offers the most heartfelt and amusing performance of the four.
While casting can be a make-or-break aspect of a movie, unfortunately with Last Vegas it seems as if the filmmakers involved thought their work was done after landing their four golden tickets. The premise of the film obviously doesn’t lend to an Oscar caliber screenplay, but even actors this gifted can only carry a cliched, paper-thin script so far. Boozing meatheads, bikini contests with scantily clad bimbos and every other Vegas banality is wielded in front of the camera with the hopes of creating some sort of cheap laugh. Adding to the painful attempt at comedy is an absurd over abundance of elderly jokes with punch lines that include Lipitor, AARP, and Medicaid. Being a fan of Robert De Niro, it pains me to watch the man who helped give us Goodfellas, Heat, and Casino starring in a film of this middling quality. Perhaps with his recent string of less than stellar films, I should be used to it, but I still refuse to admit that this is the best he can offer his many adoring fans, especially after seeing what he brought to the screen just last year in Silver Linings Playbook.
At its best, Last Vegas is playful and light entertainment that has brought together on screen four of the best actors of any generation. There are some genuinely touching moments, highlighted by a Morgan Freeman dance scene that truly made me chuckle. Unfortunately at its worst, Last Vegas is a highly predictable, unoriginal, geriatric tourist video complete with every bad Vegas cliche. Overall, Last Vegas is spectacularly unspectacular.-JL
Edited by-Michelle Zenor