Sunday, November 3, 2013

Last Vegas (Brockway)

Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway

Last Vegas

Hey guys, if you can stand Michael Douglas giving a perpetually strained look on his face as if he just read the latest  New York Post and Robert  De Niro looking glum and befuddled ( but curiously adorable) as an old New York toughie then this is a film for you. You guessed it---all the seasoned Hollywood legends are here  (Douglas, De Niro, Kline and Freeman)  in "Last Vegas" a 'Bucket List' style comedy with mere hints from "The Hangover".

These four Hollywood greats play childhood friends in Brooklyn for over 50 years.

One day, Billy (Douglas) who is now a big shot exec obsessed with virility calls up his three near argentine amigos to announce his marriage to a blonde preppy girl, 40 years his junior. The friends suggest a Vegas wedding and some hopeful middle- gray mayhem is planned.

Sam (Kevin Kline) and Archie (Morgan Freeman) try to entice the likable curmudgeon Billy to go with them, but he is mildly agoraphobic still lamenting the loss of his wife Sophie. You know the scenario: De Niro plays a more benign version of the role he delivered from "Silver Linings Playbook".

 With a sitcom immediacy, the three agree to go and try to raise hell. The jokes breeze by easily enough with a giggling carbonated smoothness and despite some of the silliness, there is a chemistry and warmth that is hard to ignore.

The titters and sight gags are so much in evidence that the film displays a quality that is untutored and dare I say, sweet. When Morgan Freeman tumbles out a window that is only a couple of inches from the ground (in a bit that is right out of "The Little Rascals" or a Mack Sennett short) it isfunny because Freeman does it with such a nonchalance.

And when all four are together poolside as bikini judges (in a scene which isn't funny by itself) they have such a lack of self consciousness that it produces a giggle.

Yes, the Viagra quips and the ogling of young babes get repetitive as cinematic corn syrup and filler, but these actors maintain a comic adhesive between themselves to make everything amiable like a family that you instantly recognize  and love to see.

Kevin Kline is perfectly on key as the professorial Steve Martinish character and Morgan Freeman is just what you might expect as a gentlemanly, (but quietly wild) man of Cool.

What plays badly is a scene where the old boys pour vodka in the mouths of a squad of babes, and the obligatory "young drunk girl" scene, but despite the formulaic insertions (which are legion) some glib dialogue saves the night.

Through it all, "Last Vegas" is a fizzy chuckle. Even though these heavies don't stretch their acting joints, there remains a pleasant seltzer to their scene. We are so familiar with these characters that you might not mind the Hollywood hi-jinx and hoopla. And it is  a good thing that there are no "Wild Hogs" or "Old Dogs" here, but just think how refreshing it could have  been had these beloved actors played against type and done something really wild.

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