UK Release Date: 3rd January 2014
Runtime: 105 minutes
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Starring: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen
Synopsis: Four life-long friends, now pensioners, head to Vegas for a bachelor party and discover whether they can still party hard.
Last Vegas probably sounded like a good idea on paper – The Hangover with a bus pass. Unfortunately, there’s only so far a premise like that can go when it’s wrapped up in a lacklustre story, a script that’s only sporadically funny and a runtime so long that, by the time it finished, I felt like I was reaching my twilight years as well.
Billy (Michael Douglas) is marrying a girl half his age and tries to reassemble his old school friends for a stag night in Las Vegas. Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) accept immediately, but bad blood between Billy and friend turned love rival Paddy (Robert De Niro) creates tension. As the debauchery and partying escalates, romance arrives on the scene in the shape of mature pub singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen).
It’s quite clear what happened with Last Vegas. There was clearly a degree of hope that the quartet of stunning comic actors in the central roles would keep the film on the right side of gimmicky.
| "I’m gonna go find some damn water and take all my damn pills. Then we’re gonna get this damn party started."
With a combined age of 281, they have more than 150 years of screen acting experience between them. In fairness, the strategy almost works, as the four do turn in reliably solid comic performances.
Unfortunately, the material that these giants of their craft are given to work with is nothing short of awful. The two or three amusing lines in the movie are in the trailer that has been playing in cinemas near constantly for the last few months. Every other attempt at humour drops to the floor with an enormous, empty clang. When a script about old people resorts to desperate hip-hop cameos and blowjob jokes for laughs, it’s probably dead.
There is barely a single surprise in the script for Last Vegas, with a plot that barely bends, let alone provide a twist. Every development is telegraphed 15-20 minutes in advance, with final romantic moments obvious from the moment characters first appear.
| "I feel like I’m getting drunk and electrocuted at the same time."
Last Vegas simply plays out as a one-line premise that no-one had the energy or inclination to properly expand upon. It’s the latest step in the career decline of Robert De Niro (on the way: more self-referential comedies) and the first real stinker of 2014.
I wish what happened in Vegas had bloody stayed there.
Pop or Poop?
Comedy cinema has not made a good start to 2014, with Last Vegas proving unimaginative and depressingly free of laughter.
The central quartet of acting legends are strong in their roles, but the knob jokes and frat humour hobbles the film from the very beginning, as does the zimmer frame pacing.
Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.