Scarface has not returned for Fisher Stevens’ Stand Up Guys. Al Pacino may be the star, but this time he’s in no physical state to churn out the line ˜say hello to my little friend’ before firing left, right and centre.
But to be honest, the ˜Stand Up Guys’, knows this. Most of its jokes revolve around the wrinkled faces, thinning hair and slower pace of Christopher Walken (Doc) and Pacino (Val).
Val has just finished serving a long prison sentence, and best pal Doc is there ready to pick him up on his release day, with his gun in hand. The two friends spend one last night reliving their youth before Val’s final hours are up.
The plot is simple, as are the scenes and locations. For the majority of the film Walken and Pacino take centre stage, as the film insists that its heart is their friendship, which they honour above everything, no matter the job in hand.
Although there are moments, which lightly prod the heartstring, it is not enough to stop us from sometimes being bored with Val’s lacklustre, last night. You get what you expect from two old crooks; a break into a pharmacy to steal Viagra, a break into an old people’s home to rescue the third member of the gang, Alan Arkin (Hirsch), and to top it all off, snorting cataract medicine at an empty bar.
The humour is somewhat sterile from writer Noah Haidle, with infrequent bursts that may just upturn the corners of your mouth.
Suspense is tenuously maintained by Val’s impending death, as it constantly plays on the characters’ minds and ours. We wonder when his best friend will pull the trigger, or if he will at all before someone else finishes off his job for him. Time is a prominent theme, and the film reiterates the importance of spending the time we have left with the people we care about.
Stand up Guys is by no means saved by its ending, but its shred of warmth, where Doc says goodbye to his granddaughter in a sweet revelation, brings a small tear to an otherwise sleepy eye.