Last Vegas (PG-13)

Comedy 90 min. November 1, 2013
By Chris Packham
A new iteration of the dude-bro Dionysian comedy, Last Vegas is a reverse Mentos commercial in which the clever old people have to outwit the entitled, selfish young people in order to get into the nightclub or yank a casino’s penthouse suite away from a formerly respectable hip-hop artist now slumming in lazy, mid-budget comedies. Presumably, the cast’s enthusiasm to work together was greater than their enthusiasm for the script, a sitcom-level tissue of broad jokes, flat gags, and lazy coincidences. But what the film has in spades is charm, its four co-stars leveraging obvious mutual admiration and roughly 160 man-years of comic experience for some genuine onscreen chemistry. When 70-year-old bachelor Billy (Michael Douglas) proposes to his much younger girlfriend — at a funeral, while delivering the eulogy — his three childhood friends insist on throwing him the same Las Vegas bachelor party he’d thrown in their honor decades before. Sam (Kevin Kline), who hasn’t boned his wife in a decade, gets tacit permission to cheat during the long weekend. Paddy (Robert De Niro) is in extended mourning for his deceased wife. And Archie (Morgan Freeman, who is the greatest), a twice-divorced stroke survivor in fear of recurrence, has consigned himself to a hermetic life in his overprotective son’s home. The film’s hidden asset is the luminous Mary Steenburgen, funny and gorgeous as an empty-nest mom turned lounge chanteuse who beguiles the dudes with age-appropriate flirting and arch humor. The characters are totally passive — money, drinks, women, and unexpected acclaim shower down on the elder-bros like Werther’s Originals from God’s own cardigan pocket, completely unearned by the characters or the screenplay.
Jon Turteltaub Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Jerry Ferrara, Romany Malco, Roger Bart Dan Fogelman Laurence Mark, Amy Baer CBS Films

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