Last Vegas is a movie that despite a weak script and some predictability succeeds thanks to its core cast. It delivers what the posters and trailers promote and that’s seeing four legendary actors on screen together having a grand old time together and there’s not much more one should expect from a movie like this.
Sony | PG13 – 105 min. – $40.99 | January 28, 2014
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Writer(s): Dan Fogelman (written by)
Cast: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Jerry Ferrara, Romany Malco
Theatrical Release Date: November 1, 2013
Features: Commentary, Featurettes, UltraViolet Digital Copy, DVD Copy
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.5/5
Note: This review contains spoilers about the plot. Reading discretion is advised.
Sometimes there’s not really much to a movie and what it wants to present to audiences and in the case of Last Vegas, its sole purpose is to give us four aging yet highly likeable, and recognizable, actors, put them on the screen together while stringing together a thin storyline to place them in what would hopefully be funny situations. And on that front, this comedy succeeds albeit the comedy aspect of it doesn’t quite hit the mark…
The story opens in the 1950s where five friends hang out and gets into all sorts of shenanigans while two vie for the attention of the solo female pal, Sophie, with, we learn later, she chose and married Paddy. Fast forward 58 years and we catch up with four of them:
Sam (KEVIN KLINE) is living the boring life in Florida attending aquatic aerobics classes with his wife (JOANNA GLEASON); Archie (MORGAN FREEMAN) is in New Jersey being cared for by his son (MICHAEL EALY) and daughter-in-law after a minor health scare; Paddy (ROBERT DE NIRO) is in Brooklyn having married Sophie who passed away a couple years earlier now lives an almost hermit lifestyle; and finally Billy (MICHAEL DOUGLAS) is living it large in Malibu and has proposed, at a funeral no less, to his much younger girlfriend (BRIE BLAIR); Because of a feud, however, Paddy and Billy have not spoken to each other in years.
But Archie and Sam manage to coax Paddy out and they fly out to Vegas and tensions are up once Paddy finds out Billy is also there, though they convince him to stay. As Billy goes off to meet up with his bride-to-be, the three others explore a casino: Archie plays some blackjack managing to win $100k+ and get the four comped for a suite (as a hotel reservation fell through); Sam gets cozy with a woman who turns out to be a transvestite; and Paddy is drawn to a second-rate yet beautiful lounge singer named Diana (MARY STEENBURGEN) and the two strike up a conversation.
As with The Hangover, the four friends, once the chilly reception between Billy and Paddy warms up slightly, they’re out of their elements at a trendy nightclub yet, in cinema fashion, are the coolest cats in the joint. They get into a tussle with a jackass named Dean (JERRY FERRERA of “Entourage” fame) and, of course, win the day. The remainder of the second act finds the four judging a swimsuit competition – with De Niro getting a close-up of the male host’s “junk” in his face – and in celebration of Billy’s impending nuptials, throw a lavish and wild party in their suite.
Meanwhile, as Paddy and Diana make a connection, what would know that she also catches Billy’s eye and the two hang out together and it’s revealed that the feud between he and Paddy stemmed when he didn’t show up to Sophie’s funeral as he was grief-stricken. There’s another semi-twist concerning who Sophie really picked back when.
The remainder of Last Vegas, like the first part, is pretty predictable and is filled with old person jokes, a couple poignant scenes about getting old and an ending that isn’t too surprising but still satisfying. I will give the script some credit because one thing that didn’t happen that I thought would is some kind of health scare with one of the guys that would lead to some deathbed scene. Of course, the filmmakers not only want to make this a cheery comedy but keep the core group together for a potential sequel…
This movie was made for and only worth seeing for one reason and that’s this cast. The four guys are absolutely fun to watch especially when all together with Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro stealing the show and although Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline are relegated to being side characters with minimal storylines, they’re absolutely a blast to watch together.
Directed by Jon Turteltaub who previously directed the two National Treasure movies, and written by Dan Fogelman (Crazy Stupid Love, The Guilt Trip), the film hardly breaks new ground in comedy and is certainly a light-weight version of The Hangover (meets Grumpy Old Men I suppose), but Last Vegas is still a fun movie worth a viewing not so much for the thin plot but seeing four iconic actors on screen together. No, it’s not overly memorable yet it’s a fun 100-minute time-waster if nothing else.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.0/5
This release comes with a glossy slip cover. Inside is the download code for the UltraViolet digital copy as well as the retail DVD Copy.
Audio Commentary – Director Jon Turteltaub and Writer Dan Fogelman sit down for a light-hearted yet informative commentary track laying out different tidbits about how certain scenes were shot.
It’s Going to be Legendary (3:14; HD), Shooting in Sin City (2:48; HD), Four Legends (2:58; HD), The Redfoo Party (1:50; HD), The Flatbush Four (1:37; HD) and Supporting Ensemble (2:21; HD) are merely promotional featurettes with cast/crew interviews, some behind-the-scenes footage. None of them are anything noteworthy with little insight though it seems like the four actors had a good time.
VIDEO – 5.0/5
Filmed on the Arri Alexa digital camera, Last Vegas looks great presented in its original 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and a 1080p high-definition transfer (MPEG-4 AVC codec). The detail levels are excellent throughout and colors are bright and cheerful especially when the group makes it to Vegas. Since it was shot digitally, there are no flaws like artifacts or pixilation.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The film comes with a serviceable and standard 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track that, for a comedy, is more than adequate providing clear dialogue levels from the center speaker and a relatively average (and forgettable) score for the remaining channels. It might not be a robust lossless track yet it’s still quite good on the whole.
OVERALL – 3.25/5
Overall, Last Vegas is a movie that despite a weak script and some predictability succeeds thanks to its core cast. It delivers what the posters and trailers promote and that’s seeing four legendary actors on screen together having a grand old time together and there’s not much more one should expect from a movie like this. The Blu-ray is thin on bonus material with a good commentary track but short promotional featurettes but the audio/video transfers are both excellent.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.