All too often when a movie has more than two big names, especially comedies, those big names phone in their performances and the result is a lackluster film. However sometimes, just as in Las Vegas, we can get a surprise. And that surprise comes in “Last Vegas”, a comedy starring Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline and Robert De Niro as four lifelong friends who get together in Las Vegas for Douglas’ bachelor party. Jon Turteltaub directs.
Ever since “The Hangover” has massive success in 2009, numerous films have tried to copy its “wolf pack in Vegas” formula and it almost always end up being a poor film (including the third Hangover film itself). But “Last Vegas”, despite all of its clichés and familiar plot, is likable and fresh, and that is due in large part to the chemistry between the four leads.
It would have been very understandable if the actors all licked a stamp and mailed in their performances (heck, De Niro has been doing it for near ten years now). We’ve seen movies with many big comedy stars get together and make an unfunny product (here’s looking at you, “Couple’s Retreat”). But never once in “Last Vegas” did I get the feeling the Oscar-winning actors didn’t care about being there, and that really added to the amount of fun I had with the movie.
The one who stands out the most is Kevin Kline. He has the largest character arch playing a man whose wife is allowing him to cheat on her while in Vegas in an attempt to save their marriage (they explain it better in the movie, I swear) and he then faces moral decisions the rest of the film. And some of those decisions lead to very funny moments, including one quick one-liner that left the audience roaring.
Yes, there is one (or five) too many Viagra jokes, and you can only poke fun at Florida for being the place elderly people go to die so many times, but for the most part these jokes never get annoying, it’s just sometimes awkward when no one laughs. And of course it is clichéd and predictable and the ending is all lovey-dovey and you get force fed life lessons about love and trust and never forgetting who your friends are. Because what would a movie be without life lessons? Look at “This Is the End”: it taught us to never hang out with Michael Cera because we won’t get raptured.
I don’t know why I liked “Last Vegas” as much as I did, but I just found it likable and charming. The actors are clearly having a blast, and Vegas is always makes for a fun backdrop (you know, unless you’re watching “Hangover 3”). If you like the actors, enjoy laughing, or Viagra puns are your thing (hey, no judging), then “Last Vegas” fits the bill. Because you know the saying: what happens in Vegas…can end up being a pretty fun time at the movies, assuming it’s not Hangover 3.
Critics Rating: 7/10