Dir: Jon Turteltaub • Wri: Dan Fogelman • Pro: Amy Baer, Joseph Drake, Laurence Mark • DOP: David Hennings • ED: David Rennie • DES: David J. Bomba • MUS: Mark Mothersbaugh • CAST: Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline
Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline: these men are near death, relatively speaking. Sorry to ruin Last Vegas for you, but that’s supposed to be the punchline. How hard you take it depends on a couple of factors – your age, your IQ, whether or not you sat through those Hangover sequels. As with said sequels, what’s missing here is a plot structure as convincing or enjoyable as the blackout whodunnit of the original.
The men are in is Las Vegas to celebrate Billy’s (Douglas) engagement to a much younger woman. Having been friends since childhood, Billy and Paddy (De Niro) are no longer speaking, and the other two hope to save the friendship. From then on it’s just like a golden wedding anniversary down the local; someone sticks a drink in your hand and insists that you enjoy the supposed incongruity of senescent debauchery. Meanwhile, Mark Mothersbaugh’s score will give anyone who hasn’t experienced it a solid idea of what it’s like to spend time in one of those glass-bottomed Las Vegas elevators.
The thing is, these actors have been around for a while for a reason – they’re really good at what they do. Every time the film wants us to laugh at Morgan Freeman’s dodgy hip or whatever, some internal reflex of actorly dignity kicks in and the joke is tossed back – at the audience, usually. Even with Kline, whose comportment doesn’t quite have the gravitas of the others’, the fact that he’s in Bob’s Burgers is enough to let us know that he gets the joke. And anyway, everyone looks far too physically fit to really be identifiable with the sorts of old men we know and just-about tolerate. So the MTV-circa-1998-style bikini-wearing competition, the 50 Cent cameo, the younger women they all improbably tangle with, none of it is plausible enough to be funny. Encourage the septuagenarians you know to spend their golden years a little more wisely than these guys.
Darragh John McCabe
12A (See IFCO for details)
Last Vegas is released on 3rd January 2014