MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Last Vegas’

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Film: Last Vegas
Starring: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

Walking into a movie like Last Vegas you usually have a preconceived notion of what you’re about to see. In this case, you’ve probably seen the posters or trailer(s) and realized the plot is similar to The Hangover, only this time the leads are all eligible for AARP cards. That is true, to an extent, but once you get past the predictability of the plot there is a lot more to love than initially meets the eye.

Playing like every comedy about a rag-tag group of friends, Last Vegas opens by introducing to the stars of the show one character explaining sequence at a time. Billy (Michael Douglas) is the recently engaged lifelong bachelor, Paddy (Robert De Niro) is the widower who cannot let go of the past, Archie (Kevin Kline) is sexually frustrated by the lack of intimacy in his 40-year marriage, and Sam (Morgan Freeman) feels like a child while living with his over-protective son following a stroke. They all need an escape from themselves, and thanks to Billy’s fiancé wanting to keep things low-key Vegas ends up being the perfect place to meet. They arrive, meet a beautiful woman perfect for causing trouble between friends (portrayed by the elegant Mary Steenburgen), and before long our four pals are off for the first of two nights in Sin City.

This is the point where The Hangover and Last Vegas go their separate ways. There are no missing people who need to be found, no drug dealers, no quasi-kidnapped babies, and only a few slight hangovers to be found. The trouble this group, otherwise known as the ‘Flatbush 4,’ find is far more family friendly. There’s the bikini contest where old men lust after lovely ladies, the night club with music and drinks they don’t understand, and a slew of supporting characters who help pepper dull moments with witty remarks about aging. All relatively harmless, but delightful nonetheless.

What Last Vegas has going for it that other films of this variety do not is the relationship between Billy and Paddy, which ultimately provides the best dramatic moments of the entire story. They have unresolved issues from the top of the movie, but their undying sense of loyalty and brotherhood to one another forces them to try to work things out. Things go well for a while, but then they hit a wall that leaves you wondering whether or not their friendship will survive the trip.

Last Vegas is far from a perfect movie, but other than being guilty of having horribly generic setups and a predictable plot there is not that much to complain about. The acting is fine, the jokes hit more than they miss, and everyone can leave the theater feeling like they had a good time. The target demographic for a film like this seems to the audience who felt ‘too old’ for The Hangover, but I would argue anyone looking for a decent comedy to escape the horrors of reality for ninety minutes could do a lot worse than this film.

Score: B-

Review written by: James Shotwell (follow him on Twitter)

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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