Since The Hangover debuted in 2009, cinemas have screened an abundance of films about friends travelling to Las Vegas, or any other location with alcohol and bright lights, prior to a wedding or as a way to forget their transience. The new adult comedy Last Vegas is no different, but this time the male protagonists are about 40 years older than the younger men cast in similar films.
Attending a bachelor party in Las Vegas, Michael Douglas plays Billy Gherson, a 70-year-old playboy who has proposed to a much younger Lisa (Bre Blair) in light of his own mortality. His friends Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) are all miserable seniors who escape to Nevada before the wedding that weekend. And that’s where it all begins.
Last Vegas is mildly disturbing from the get-go and quite cringe-worthy. Freeman’s Sam gets permission from his current wife to cheat on her in the first 10 minutes. Sex and Viagra jokes are as common as changing scenes. The endless lame jokes in the film are predictable and cheap, focusing instead on the friendships of these older men, as they act “harmless” and appear sweet in comparison to the likes of male characters from The Hangover.
Screewriter Dan Fogelman has always been hit and miss and Last Vegas falls into the latter here. Dependant on the star quality of four respectable actors, the scriptwriting is hollow and full of gags about death, cheating, dysfunction and sex is repeated without fail. There are some quotes that prompt a chuckle but very little memorable and original yarns throughout. What persists in this film is sleazy dialogue in a place where it is apparently acceptable. The bikini competition makes you wince and seemingly justifiable given the circumstances. It’s formulaic at best and the film is one huge cliché. Each of the actors is good in their roles, despite the limiting writing here. Kline is particularly funny and Freeman is also reasonable while Douglas brings back his Wall Street days and DeNiro puts his GoodFellas face on. Conclusively each actor is surprisingly willing to play these men and not too bad at it.
Naturally the film has an emotional ending that brings the fun shenanigans to a close. You can see the final conflict from a mile away. But even this doesn’t register much with the audience, with the script suggesting the resolution is able to bring peace among the troubled friends like a magic potion. It’s not a deep film nor is it a particularly funny one but that doesn’t necessarily mean its bad. Unfortunately Last Vegas is just a void.
Originally published on CelebrityOZ, February 11, 2014.
Watch the trailer for Last Vegas below: