Last Vegas (2013)
Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on November 6, 2013 @ tonymacklin.net.
Last Vegas is more old coots than hoots. Fortunately, it has a saving grace.
With a quartet of aging male acting pros - Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline - is a female that saves the day and the movie.
Amidst the coy meanderings of her male castmates, when Mary Steenburgen appears, she grounds the film and gives it sparkle.
In Last Vegas, Las Vegas casts a glimmer, but the one who shines is Steenburgen.
Last Vegas has to rally from an awful start. It opens with a montage of photos of boys and a girl taken in a photo booth. But it has no wit or style.
Then it falls forward 58 years, and the four male characters are introduced in generic, vapid dotage.
Each of the four - they once called themselves "The Flatbush Four" - now lives in a different city. And each has issues. Yawn.
Sam (Kevin Kline) is in Florida with his wife (Joanna Gleason) in the tritest of boring circumstances. Archie (Morgan Freeman) has had a stroke, and his son Ezra (Michael Ealy, the costar of the new tv series Almost Human) now is being a mother hen over him.
The big conflict is between Paddy (Robert De Niro) and Billy (Michael Douglas). Paddy's wife has died, but Billy didn't attend the funeral. It's not hard to guess why. Paddy has become basically reclusive.
Billy, living in Malibu, has never married, but he becomes engaged to Lisa (Bre Blair), a nearly 32-year old.
They all travel to Las Vegas for the bachelor party. Even Paddy, who still is bitter and anti-social, gets dragged along.
When director Jon Turteltaub is in Vegas he's in an element that works. When he's out of Las Vegas - at the beginning and at the end - his film is without spirit. The movie that happens in Vegas should have stayed in Vegas.
Las Vegas also provides the film's best asset - the performance of Mary Steenburgen as Diana, a lounge singer. Diana meets the wayward quartet and provides them with lively company. The writer Dan Fogelman must have awakened from a nap, because Diana actually has some intelligent dialogue.
Steenburgen received an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress for Melvin and Howard (1980). And she gave a strong performance as the lead defense attorney for a powerful law firm in Philadelphia (1993). She brings charming aplomb to her role in Last Vegas.
Last Vegas should hit the mark with its target audience.
Sex is only oblique in Last Vegas. Sam's wife gives him a condom to take with him to sow his wild oat. In this kind of movie, we know what's going to happen with the condom.
The nude scene is from behind, and the woman's panties stay on.
In Last Vegas, safe sex for sexagenarians is no sex.
Last Vegas does offer a loud nightclub and a happening party at the Aria Hotel and Casino.
But, ultimately, Last Vegas is bingo at Circus Circus.