Others, like me, may be put in the mind of “A Christmas Carol” with the cast—Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline—as the Geriatric Ghosts of What is Yet to Come, providing a terrifying glimpse into the future filled with titanium hips, pill organizers and dinner parties that begin at 4:15 pm.
The Flatbush Four, a quartet of Brooklyn buddies, have been friends since childhood. They now live in different parts of the country, but for the most part the bond they formed on the block fifty-eight years ago is still as strong as the Marlboros they once stole from the corner store. When the deeply-tanned Billy (Douglas) announces his marriage to a much younger woman, Archie (Freeman), Sam (Kline) and Paddy (De Niro) throw him a bachelor party in Vegas. “We’re here to celebrate Billy’s marriage to an infant,” says Archie.
Time has taken its toll on their lives and relationships. The highlight of Archie’s day is organizing his medication, Sam is romantically restless and Paddy is in mourning for his late wife. Complicating things is Paddy’s resentment toward his former best friend Billy.
Friendly faults aside, the four wrangle high roller status, hook up with an obliging saloon singer (Mary Steenburgen) and try to party like it’s 1959.
Imagine a mix of “The Hangover” and “Grumpy Old Men” and you’ll get an idea of the tone of “Last Vegas.” It’s almost two hours of old codger jokes—“The first bachelor party to be covered by Medicare!”—but without the tigers and Mike Tyson set against the glitz of Sin City.
The main enjoyment here comes from watching the headliners create chemistry between their characters given a script that has as much nuance as a game of Keno.
Kevin Kline has most of the funny lines and delivers them well—mistaking Curtis Jackson for a member of the Jackson 5 is funny, a bit of slapstick with a straw, not as much. The rest of the guys make the best of it, gamely strolling through the script on the way to pick up their pay cheques.
The problem with ”Last Vegas” isn’t with the performances—the above the title actors share five acting Oscars among them and Steenburgen won one for “Melvin and Howard”—it’s with a predictable script that takes no chances. No stereotype is left unturned. Dirty old man, check. May-December romance, check. Advice spewing wise old man, check. Viagara joke, check. It’s all here and more, but the movie is content to coast along on the reputations of its stars.