Last Vegas - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
GIVEN the combined dramatic weight represented by the cast of John Turteltaub’s Last Vegas shouldn’t we have the right to expect something more than this lightweight fluff – a geriatric Hangover of sorts?
Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline and Morgan Freeman have won six Oscars between them as well as countless other accolades but here, as with a lot of their more recent material (and De Niro in particular), they’re content just to coast.
The plot finds four unshakeable schoolboy friends reuniting in Vegas for a hedonistic weekend to celebrate the impending marriage of Billy (Douglas) to a woman half his age.
Yet as good as they still are at having fun, complications arise from the tensions that exist between Billy and Paddy (De Niro) over a past love interest, as well as a potential new one – Mary Steenburgen’s lounge singer Diana.
For Archie (Freeman) and Sam (Kline), meanwhile, the weekend represents the chance to blow off some steam and revisit their youth. Sam, in particular, wants to sew some more wild oats and has the blessing of his wife, while Archie just wants to do his own thing for a change and escape the constant monitoring of his son (Michael Ealy).
Turteltaub’s film is – admittedly – amusing in places, largely because of the chemistry that exists between its amiable cast. But at other times it feels lazy, patronising and occasionally creepy, especially when it comes to the attempts by the men to impress the much younger ladies.
In terms of story, meanwhile, you can pretty much see where everything is heading, right down to last minute realisations and about turns on decisions. But the sentimentality that accompanies this is often pretty corny and derivative of so many like-minded mainstream movies.
The film does succeed in its quieter moments, when the veteran cast hint at what they’re capable of given better material, but these are too few and far between to really register strongly. And the uneven mixture of age-appropriate drama and juvenile humour also suggests that the filmmakers are caught between two minds in terms of what audience they should most be appealing to.
Hence, what could still have emerged as a lively romp enlivened by memorable turns from its four principal players winds up as a tiresome stroll towards the inevitable that’s amiable enough but wholly and immediately forgettable.
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Running time: 105mins
UK Release Date: January 3, 2014