Film Review – Last Vegas

Last Vegas (M)

Directed by: Jon Turtletaub

Starring: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline

Three and a half stars

Review by: Julian Wright

Old people are making a comeback. Sly, Arnie and pals are blowing up the screen with The Expendables franchise, Willis, Mirren and Malkovich are taking similar action in RED. Streep continues to be nominated annually for an Oscar. Are we finally fed up with the saturation of toned and tanned young starlets, with their cellulite-free thighs and wrinkle free faces? Or are we finally prepared to face and embrace our mortality? Anyone who saw and survived the harrowing Amour can surely handle anything age related now.

Serving as another outlet for the elderly to shine once again on the big screen – and as an FYI to the Hangover series that people over the age of 35 also like to get loose and messy in Sin City  – Last Vegas gathers some of Hollywood’s most talented, but less-frequently utilised gents for some tongue in cheek humour and to wax lyrical about the aging process.

At a funeral for yet another friend that has passed, 60-something Billy (Michael Douglas) proposes to his 30-something mid-life crisis girlfriend. And to the raised eyebrows of friends and family, she gallantly accepts.  Their big day is to be held in Las Vegas so Billy gathers his three best mates since childhood Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) for one last wild night of freedom…but only after their nanna nap.

There is tension between Billy and Paddy and Billy hopes to make amends, and the others bring along baggage too; Archie had a stroke and is being smothered by his son and Sam’s spark has gone from his marriage. The men try to recapture their youth, by indulging in clubbing, sexy young women and gambling, before the Grim Reaper comes tapping them on the shoulder.

The name of the game with Last Vegas is fun, which the cast and director have plenty of. And it is contagious. The first half is fuelled by laugh-a-minute gags and spot on comic timing by the capable cast. There is a hint of dramatics in the final moments in which Paddy reveals his greatest fears about aging. It is a poignant and honest moment, and Douglas is heartbreaking, that comes perhaps too far in the parade of grinding, scantily clad young bodies and crotch-thrusting humour. But better late than never. Last Vegas is a rare chance to face our fears of the inevitable – sagging skin, liver spots and receding hairline – with a helping of humour to soften the blow.

One Response to “Film Review – Last Vegas”

  1. If you are in your 60’s can you have a mid-life crisis? We need another word for that, because it can’t be an end-of-life crisis can it? 🙂

    Enjoyed the review … I found that I liked this film more than I expected I would, even with the corny jokes that appeared now and again.

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