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Monday, October 28, 2013
MOVIE REVIEW Last Vegas
Last Stop: Geriatric Male Fantasy Adventure In Vegas
Kevin Kline as Sam, Morgan Freeman as Archie, Robert De Niro as Paddy and
Michael Douglas as Billy in Jon Turteltaub's comedy "Last Vegas".
Chuck Zlotnick/CBS Films
Omar P.L. Moore/PopcornReel.com
The four geezers in the photo aren't your grandfather's Rat Pack. They
aren't your father's Lords Of Flatbush. They are, however, The Flatbush
Four, a quartet of blokes from Brooklyn, New York who go way way back -- at
least sixty years of friendship back -- in Jon Turteltaub's hysterically funny
comedy "Last Vegas". The film opens across the U.S. and Canada
Billy (Michael Douglas), 70, invites his three lifelong pals to his bachelor
party and Vegas wedding, where, he boasts, he'll marry a woman half his age.
The boast is one of the film's mild slaps in the face of senior women, one of
whom sashays her wrinkled mass in a bathing suit at a swimming pool in full view
of Sam (Kevin Kline). Sam's loving, dedicated wife of 40 years, Miriam
(Joanna Gleason), has armed him with a Viagra pill and a condom. It's the
geriatric school lunch diet she's packed for Sam's Vegas jaunt. "Have
fun," she says. "I don't care what you do," she adds. Sam goes
giddy. The condom is his business card. He gleefully announces it
whenever and wherever he can. Men will be boys. Those boys, whom we
see early on, are forever a part of them. "Last Vegas" is a film where
people want to be anything but themselves, and Las Vegas is the place where it
If Sam instead sees Helen Mirren gyrating in a bathing suit the rest of "Last
Vegas" likely doesn't happen, but later we see Mary Steenburgen, the most
attractive woman in a film full of beautiful women more
than half her age. Ms. Steenburgen plays Diana, a single Vegas lounge
singer whose eye is trained on the self-absorbed Billy and grouchy widower Paddy
(Robert De Niro), whose grudge against Billy, who didn't attend his wife's
funeral, will require Grand Canyon-sized abating.
Ironically, funerals for Billy, who confesses a fear of aging during a rare
serious moment, are comfortable places. He proposes to young Lisa (Bre
Blair) at one. It's an uncomfortable bit of bad taste felt beyond the
funeral attendees, ill-fitting with the rest of Mr. Turteltaub's film and Dan
Fogelman's cute if predictable script. Conversely, very comfortable in
this foolish farcical frolic is Archie (Morgan Freeman), whose hemorrhoids, he
remarks, are the same age as Lisa and the women he meets. This unsightly
fact, number one in a series of T.M.I. disclosures, is also paraded either as a
badge of honor or a battle scar of affirmation. Archie, the oldest of
these four horn dogs, still has charm, dance moves and intelligent words of
advice, all put to good use.
An otherwise formulaic comedy, "Last Vegas" amasses a likable quartet of Oscar
winners to deliver laughs. Over the years we've grown up
with or matured alongside Messrs. Douglas, De Niro, Freeman and Kline.
It's difficult not to think of their offscreen parallels when watching "Last
vast majority of roles in their careers have come in serious fare.
Some of their movies ("Raging Bull",
"The Bucket List",
"In & Out") are suggested in Mr. Turteltaub's film. Why not see these
talents together in a movie for the first time, and why not see
them let their gray hair down in a comedy? It's better than putting three
aged actors in a drama -- see this year's
"Stand Up Guys".
"Last Vegas" is sentimental in parts though not overly so, save for its climax.
Of the actors, Mr. Kline, the youngest of the four at 66, has the most fun.
Mr. Kline, in his element and at his best as Sam, looks infinitely older, a shock of white in his beard and a white wig.
Sam in his eager quest to break the emergency "glass", luck be a lady tonight and
every night.) These Silver Sirs live out a fantasy, defying age by acting
their shoe size. They shoo away loved ones more concerned about them than
they are themselves. In their silliness they gain cache, so much so that
big-name rap stars are upstaged. It's called "respect your elders", and
"Last Vegas" respects their right to party too much at times, perhaps to the
point of absurdity. Yet it is undeniably laugh-out-loud fun. I
couldn't help myself.
If we learn anything at all from "Last Vegas" it's that 60 and 70-year-old men
can still say "balls" and "blow job", and say them with male pride, a modicum of
self-respect and with teeth intact. We learn, more importantly, that said
men aren't too serious or too old to make fun of themselves. While it may
not be saying much, we also learn that "Last Vegas" is better than either
Part II" or "Part III" (or "Grown Ups"), all of which had
significantly junior male delinquents on display.
Not to be outdone, "Last Vegas" touts its own juvenile spirit in spades.
Its younger men, including the put-upon servile Dean (Jerry Ferrara, of
"Entourage", "Think Like A Man") and Vegas hotel fixer-upper Lonnie (Romany
Little Bit Of Heaven"), are at the foursome's beck-and-call.
So are the 22-year-old women who brainlessly drop their drawers on auto-cue
coaxing, alcohol or seduction. These younger women, who may be esteem-less,
desperate, horny, part of a misogynist mantra or just in love with mature men, see the men 50 years their senior as a sexy status symbol.
Very few of the younger women in "Last Vegas" appear interested in men their own age, putting the film
and Vegas in a dream-like sparkle paradise for our fun-loving four.
In relationships the film's "ancient" males are the ones some similarly-aged
women complain about or run the farthest from. ("They chase after
20-year-olds and are so immature," a friend once said.) Yet these very
sexagenarian women put up with such men, and Ms. Steenburgen and Ms. Gleason's
characters are Exhibit A. They are the two women in "Last Vegas" who make
sense, in fact, the only people in it who do. As lone voices of reason
they unfortunately yield screen time to men who are 70-going on their second
mid-life crisis. The revelation of "Last Vegas" is that, despite a few
appearances to the contrary, it's the women of a certain age who get to eat
their cake and keep it. If not for them this male foursome wouldn't get to
have the fun they have in Vegas. Truth is, these men cannot live without
their same-aged opposites.
The message? Be thankful to be alive. Bow forever to the fountain of
age and the throne of woman. For neither will ever be conquered, in this
life or the next. And why should they? One brought you into the
Both can take you out.
Also with: Michael Ealy, Roger Bart, Noah Harden, RJ Fattori, Aaron Bantum,
Philip Wampler, Olivia Stuck, Ashley Spillers, Michael Beasley, Janay Oakland,
"Last Vegas" is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association Of America
for sexual content and language. The
film's running time is one hour and 44 minutes.
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