Last Vegas, 2013.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub.
Starring Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Mary Steenburgen.
Four ageing friends head to Las Vegas for the stag do of their last single friend.
With a cast consisting of four of the greatest actors in cinematic history, you are right to expect that this should be one of the funniest films of 2013. Unfortunately, it falls miles short of ‘funny’ and lands somewhere near ‘the occasional smile’ – the kind where you half smile to yourself so no-one else can see. Comedy isn’t the films strong point but there is a heartfelt message running through the core of the film which is delivered far more successfully than the gags.
The film follows four best friends, known as ‘The Flatbush Four’, from their friendship in the 1950’s to the present day. Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) plays Archie, a divorced man living with his son whilst recovering from a stroke. Kevin Kline (A Fish Called Wanda) plays Sam, still married to his first love and living it up (or down) in Florida. Robert De Niro (Goodfellas) plays Paddy, a widow who is grieving the loss of his wife and living in his dressing gown. And finally we have Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra) who plays the extremely wealthy bachelor Billy, a man in his late 60’s who is about to marry his 30 year old girlfriend. Sam and Archie decide Billy needs a stag do and they all decide on a weekend in Las Vegas, dragging grumpy Paddy along with them. Why does he need to be dragged I hear you ask – bad Billy didn’t turn up to Paddy’s wife’s funeral and Paddy is having trouble forgiving him (fair enough!). As they look for their hotel, ‘The Flatbush Four’ meet the radiant Mary Steenburgen who plays lounge singer Diana. She immediately attracts the attention of all four men, but Billy and Paddy seem particularly taken with her… uh oh! Fun times ensue with all four men providing at least one small giggle each; friendships are renewed and battles are fought with family, frat dudes and 50 Cent.
The story itself is quite predictable but this is to be expected with writer Dan Fogelman (Cars, Bolt, Tangled) who is more used to penning animated films aimed at children. The awesome Kevin Kline carries most of the comedy by himself with Mary Steenburgen helping ‘The Flatbush Four’ and the audience to realise the rather morose message of the film; age is going to get you, the people closest to you are going to die so you’ve got live life to it’s fullest and value your friendships. Although the comedy isn’t great, it is at least consistent and garners at least a couple of stand out moments.
There are some cringe-worthy scenes (which are half funny if you can get your Granddad out of your head), but this charismatic Oscar winning bunch (seven Oscars between the five main cast members) obviously had fun whilst making this film which is why it’s hard to hate it – that and the fact that these serious actors are quite willing to take the mick out of themselves. It’s possibly not worth £10 at the cinema but probably worth it on DVD. If you’re still not sure then let me offer you an equation: The Hangover + Wild Hogs + the message in Rocky 6 = Last Vegas. Does that help your decision?
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★