Bachelor party comedies have been released thick and fast these past few years, film producers tempted by the enormous popularity of the Hangover series and films such as Old School, to name but a couple. Last Vegas is undoubtedly after a glass from this boozy, silliness-ridden bottle, yet looking at the cast; Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline; you’d be mistaken for thinking they were after a hot toddy instead of a shot of tequila. Fortunately, though, the film does surprise audiences with more than the geriatric homecoming would otherwise suggest.
The film revolves around the four main characters, friends since childhood, who decide to take a trip to Las Vegas when Billy (Douglas) decides to finally pop the question to his rather youthful wife. Thinking Sin City is all about flash suits, hot jazz and the likes of the Rat Pack, the group are somewhat surprised when they realise that Las Vegas has changed, testing their friendship and setting the stage for a hilarious time.
Vegas’ well trodden tropes have been almost exhausted by the various Hangover films, yet still the film manages to be fresh, not dipping into the puerile, debauched jokes and situations that permeate usual Las Vegas flicks. The sixty years-long friendship between the four characters is placed centre stage in the film, the fun frolics coming from watching the now rather old four friends try and shirk off the boredom and dependency that have befallen their regular lives as old age has set in.
Freeman and Kline definitely elicit the larger laughs, a welcome sight for the two actors who are given the chance to play looser, broader characters than those for which they are usually typecast. Yes the jokes are primarily concerned with what happens when old people get into situations in which old people aren’t usually in, but even jokes that should be boring; hitting on drag queens, downing energy drink cocktails; are funnier than they would be, simply due to the presence of so many of cinema’s greats on screen.
Dan Fogelman’s script is perfectly alright, however sometimes takes a rather unbelievable form. No, the group doesn’t spend their weekend playing online rather than hitting the slots, but moments such as the third act’s emotional betrayal, resolved minutes later, never seem to be all that believable. The jokes are good enough, but there aren’t enough really funny ones to continually sustain the picture, much being merely chuckle-inducing filler than often disappoints.
Last Vegas is a perfectly fine, heart warming movie, but not one to write home about. The main cast do perform well, but one distinctly gets the impression that both Douglas and De Niro never really do more than coast through the picture. Perhaps Las Vegas needs a little time to fade from our memories before the next comedy outing rears its neon-covered head.
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