Last Vegas

Directed By: Jon Turteltaub

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

Hollywood has a tendency to milk every drop out of whatever idea that’s become their latest cash cow.  Take The Hangover's wild bachelor party concept for instance.  Because of Hollywood's insistence on sacrificing originality for profitability, I have a love-hate relationship with the Wolf Pack.  I love the original Hangover movie and hate parts 2 and 3.  With this in mind, it should come as no shock that I'm not warmly embracing this weekend's Last Vegas, a PG-13 Hangover knockoff for the AARP crowd.  Despite having a star-studded cast with some of the greatest screen legends of all time, Last Vegas just comes across as stale.  The Flatbush Four aren't getting the job done here.

Pushing 70, longtime eligible bachelor Billy (Michael Douglas) is finally about to get married to a woman half his age.  With the wedding quickly approaching, Billy decides to call his lifelong best friends and make plans to celebrate the momentous occasion in Vegas.  After recently suffering a mild stroke, Archie (Morgan Freeman) jumps at the chance to get away from his controlling son (Michael Ealy).  Bored with his life and ready to spice things up in Sin City, Sam (Kevin Kline) gets a free pass for the weekend in the form of Viagra and a condom from his wife of 40 years.  Lastly, we have Paddy (Robert De Niro), a bitter old man still mourning the loss of his wife Sophie a year ago.  Because Billy didn't make it to the funeral, Paddy is pretty reluctant to go celebrate a milestone in his old friend's life.  Nonetheless, these best friends forever, known as the Flatbush Four, hit the strip and party like it’s 1959.

Upon getting to Vegas, Archie, Sam, and Paddy learn that none of them actually booked a reservation for a hotel room.  This is perfectly clear when the group of friends arrive at a casino ready to check into a hotel that's under renovation.  Billy takes them over to the Aria where he's staying, and Archie hits the blackjack tables with half his pension at stake.  After making six figures in winnings at the casino, the Aria staff offer Archie and his friends a penthouse villa for the weekend.  From there, the fun really begins.  Meanwhile, Billy and Paddy both become enamored with a lounge singer named Diana (Mary Steenburgen).  Since they feuded in their youth over Paddy's late wife Sophie, their friendship coming full circle is quite fitting.

Despite its elite cast, Last Vegas gives movies about old people a bad name.  As expected, the film is underwhelming in the humor department as many of the comedic setups are either cheap jokes about old people or just bad jokes in general.  While it's hard not to enjoy these four screen legends, it's not because the material with which they're working is particularly strong.  They're just playing on their charms.  Lastly, the film feels outdated.  If it has an expiration date, it was long ago.  Completely unoriginal, surprisingly unfunny, and utterly stale, Jon Turteltaub's Hangover knockoff is actually worse than it sounded on paper.

One thing that unfortunately stands out in Last Vegas is that the cast doesn't necessarily gel.  It could be the writing, the mailed-in performances, or simply the tone of the film, but this cast has no comedic chemistry together whatsoever.  In the rare moments that I chuckled, one of our principal cast members is doing something on his own.  Whether that be Morgan Freeman hitting the dance floor or Kevin Kline trying to pick up a girl, each actor does it alone on screen.  Together, these four veteran actors just don't bring the laughs, and that's the vast majority of the film.  Perhaps this all-star cast has been miscast.

It's fair to say that I have my misgivings about Last Vegas.  At the same time, this is the sad product of Hollywood trying to drain every last penny out of an idea.  The film just doesn't get the job done.  Since the film takes place in Sin City and we are watching some older actors here, grab an Old Fashioned or two for this one.  Last Vegas gets a 0.09% rating.