Last Vegas Has Everything But Laughs

Can we make a pact to stop comparing every bro-comedy to The Hangover? I mean, The Hangover wasn’t the first of its kind. Weekend at Bernie’s  capitalized on the bachelor screwball vacation movie back in the ’80s. And before that, every Chevy Chase movie relied on this same formula. So when I talk about Last Vegas, we’re talking about it in terms of it being Last Vegas. Everyone cool with that? Good. Because I’m going to move this baby along since there’s not really much substance to discuss with this movie.

Billy (Michael Douglas) is getting married to his 30-something girlfriend, whom he proposes to at a funeral (Yeah, that happens). So he calls his friends to invite them to his Las Vegas bachelor party. Sam (Kevin Kline) is a Florida retiree with a nonexistent sex life. Archie (Morgan Freeman) had a stroke and has been babied by his son Ezra (Michael Ealy) ever since. And then there’s Paddy (Robert De Niro), who hasn’t seen the guys since his wife died. Also, he’s mad at Billy because Billy didn’t attend his wife’s funeral, and now Billy wants him to join him for a bachelor party. Yeah, you can see where this is headed. Let’s dive into the spoiler section before I continue.

Last Vegas as a comedy is extremely disappointing. I say that mainly because the trailer promised me a good time, yet all I walked away with were the same jokes I saw in the trailer and a new resentment for growing old (unlike Red, which made me feel like I could still get old and be a badass). That’s not to say Last Vegas isn’t a good movie. In fact, it’s actually a great story about Billy, Paddy, Sam, and Archie’s friendship over the years and where it has led them. The plot is well-crafted and has plenty of heart, and the characters learn something and change because of it, which is how movies are supposed to be. So, story-wise, it’s an A. Laugh-wise? It’s a D. I can’t even count how many times I heard jokes about pills, health issues, age, blah, blah, blah. Could the screenwriter be more stereotypical? Of course those jokes are going to be made! It’s a movie about four dudes all over the age of 60! But that didn’t mean they needed to be the only jokes. And sadly, they were.

Rather than focusing most of the jokes on the situation, which is overdone (Ahem, Hangover), Last Vegas should have had more jokes around the characters’ friendship. After all, the best “buddy” comedies are the ones that make you feel like you’re in on the friendship. A perfect recent example is The World’s End, which was a situational comedy that succeeded because of its inside jokes between the characters. I don’t give two craps about where the characters are; I care about how they react to each other. The scene where Sam, Archie, and Paddy were cracking jokes about Billy’s young fiancée was what this movie needed more of (not the specific joke, itself, but the ribbing between friends). But whatever. I’m tired of beating this dead horse.

Also, I’d like to say that I like seeing older actors enjoying themselves in a movie that clearly has more of a young feel. You can tell Douglas, De Niro, Kline, and Freeman were having a good time with this movie. That being said, it annoys me that Hollywood keeps coming out with these same “old man” movies (The Bucket List, Grumpy Old Men, Space Cowboys, Out to Sea), yet we never get “old woman” movies. Because, apparently, men are allowed to age and be funny, but women should be ashamed of their wrinkles, right? Isn’t that why older actresses, like Mary Steenburgen, who plays love interest Diana in Last Vegas, have botoxed the absolute hell out of their faces? Yeah. I bet you’ve never thought of it that way before, have you?

Overall, Last Vegas had a heartfelt story about friendship and a talented cast to go along with it. But it was definitely not legendary, nor was it really that funny. If you’re wondering why my review for this movie is so short, it’s because it honestly bored the hell out of me, so I don’t think it warrants much discussion. Let’s just say if I consider a movie with Kevin Kline (who is hysterical) to be boring, then something isn’t working here. Maybe I’m being a little harsh on a movie that already had low expectations, but to be fair, this would be a really great movie to fall asleep to some night when it’s playing on TBS at midnight in the near-future.

Last Vegas: C-

For my radio review of Last Vegas on “Pat & JT in the Morning,” visit this link (starts around the 27:38 mark).

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