Following the successes of The Hangover, the bromance has been on the rise. Combine this with the increase in popular older star films like The Expendables and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and you find yourself in a position to go and see Last Vegas, a comedy about A-List stars growing old disgracefully.
Childhood friends Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) fly to Las Vegas for an impromptu stag party with fellow old friend Billy (Michael Douglas). Despite being advised against pushing themselves too hard, the ˜Flatbush Four’ find themselves throwing caution to the wind in an effort to prove that they’re not too old to have fun.
Being a comedy the most important gauge of success is whether a film is funny. In the case of Last Vegas it had enough laughs to avoid failure, although it never threatens to reach any sort of memorable level of quality. The central cast are good, with Douglas and De Niro providing the dramatic thrust and proving how good they can be even with a flawed script, while Freeman and Kline play the fools to middling effect.
The comedy is formulaic and fine, although the film delves into slightly more maudlin territory in the final act and there is a sense that there might have been a great dramatic film in there, had director Jon Turteltaub not insisted on so much Hangover-style comedy set-pieces. But even those scenes work with such a great line-up of actors on display.
As always with one-note, broad comedies such as this however is the fact that as soon as it’s finished you’ll be hard-pressed to remember much about it. The plot is formulaic and very easy to follow and as one character remarks the Florida jokes are getting old. This is definitely the case leading into the finale of Last Vegas, right at the point that tone switches from funny to slightly downbeat. Overall it works, but only just.
Last Vegas is a perfectly acceptable quality broad-stroke comedy that boasts a fantastic cast. Some tweaks to the script and a little less high-concept comedy elements may have served the film better, but for those that enjoy films like The Bucket List and The Hangover there’s enough quality here to entertain.