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:: Last Vegas

It does come as a bit of a surprise that Last Vegas has arrived on our screens with such little fanfare. The main four cast members have won six Oscars between them and normally a film with the calibre of Douglas, De Niro and Freeman would have the whole world talking. However, the fact that Last Vegas is a comedy seems to have scared off a few cinema goers. True, De Niro has made some bad comedies over the years but the inclusion of Morgan Freeman here should scare away any of those fears, because let’s be honest Mr. Freeman just simply doesn’t make bad films.

The film itself is a little like The Hangover with geriatrics. There was a time when Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) were inseparable – they stuck up for each other and protected each other no matter the consequences. However, over the years geography has separated them while Billy and Paddy have also had a massive falling out because Billy didn’t show up to Paddy’s wife.

Now Billy is about to be married and has decided to head to Last Vegas for the bucks party of all bucks parties beforehand. He easily gets Archie, who wants to escape his protective family and Sam who has been given a free pass by his wife to fool around, to agree to the trip however the same can’t be said for Paddy. Paddy’s arrival those soon causes more problems when he and Billy soon find themselves both attracted to someone else – the beautiful singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen).

Director Jon Turtletaub and screenwriter Dan Fogelman have tried to make Last Vegas a little different to most comedies out there. Instead of making this a full out debaucherous affair the pair have worked hard in creating some characters that are easy to care for while trying hard to push the fact that being old doesn’t have to be boring and that friends are supposed to stick together no matter what.

This does work throughout the film. The laughs come along steadily and while they may not be kind of moments that will make you laugh out loud they will at least have you chuckling which is more than can be said for a lot of other films around at the moment. The serious storyline though will railroad the film for younger audience members though who expect a film set in Las Vegas to be full of sex and nudity.

As you would expect these seasoned professionals certainly don’t disgrace themselves when it comes to the acting stakes. Given the light nature of the script the likes of De Niro, Kline and Douglas just seem to glide their way through on auto-pilot. Morgan Freeman once again reminds cinemas goers that he is capable of pulling of comedy with ease, while credit must be paid to Michael Douglas for so many ‘younger women’ jokes being written about his character despite the fact at the time he was married to the much younger Catherine Zeta-Jones. Given that role was originally written for Jack Nicholson some touchy actors may have asked for that to have been re-written after it mirrored his real life, but to his credit Douglas soldiered on and part of the fun of the film are the jokes leveled at him.

Sure Last Vegas is not a roll-around-in-aisles-with-laughter style comedy, nor is it a film that will earn Freeman, De Niro, Douglas or Kline another Oscar but this is still a likeable film that can be enjoyed by an audience of all ages.

DVD Extras

Filmmaker Commentary with Jon Turteltaub and Dan Fogelman