Sunday, November 03, 2013

Last Vegas

Looking at the IMDB, I see he's about the same age as his co-stars, but I must admit: It seems a little weird to see Kevin Kline as part of the same old-guy grouping as Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, and Morgan Freeman. Sure, he's been doing older-man roles for the past few years, to the point where I have occasionally commented that it's become 50/50 as to whether he survives a movie or not, but he's still got a youthful voice and seemed spry and energetic when he appeared a IFFBoston a couple years ago.

The rest of the cast, sure: Michael Douglas sort of moved into his father's "Hollywood Elder Statesman" role, Morgan Freeman has been playing venerable authority figures forever, and De Niro has grown old with reasonable grace, mixing and matching roles that play on his having been around a while with those that rely on him still being vital that it doesn't seem strange for him to play this sort of crotchety widower. But Kline? That just doesn't seem right.

As an aside: This movie breaks the law of "bearded Kevin Kline = serious; clean-shaven Kevin Kline = funny", and should probably be forgotten just for that.

(I do talk about the rest of the cast in the review, by the way. It's just that I was looking forward to a new Kevin Kline comedy and realizing that it's likely all going to be slowed-down roles he might not live through from here on out is a bummer.)

Last Vegas

* * (out of four)
Seen 2 November 2013 at AMC Boston Common #1 (first-run, 4K DCP)

Last Vegas isn't just Grumpy Old Men with twice as many title characters, but maybe it should have been. Those movies with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon may not have been sophisticated, but they knew the stories and jokes they wanted to tell and weren't content to coast on their stars' established chemistry. This one just has hopes that some great actors working together will be fun, and that's only almost enough.

Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman), Sam (Kevin Kline), and Sophie were best friends growing up in Flatbush, Brooklyn when they were kids; now it's almost sixty years later and they've spread throughout the country - Sam in Florida with Miriam (Joanna Gleason), his wife of forty years; Archie in New Jersey with his worried son (Michael Ealy) after a stroke; Paddy still in Brooklyn, with Sophie gone a year; and Billy in Malibu, sill a bachelor who has recently proposed to his much younger girlfriend Lisa (Bre Blair). This calls for a bachelor party before the Vegas wedding, although the quartet's age-related issues are brought to the fore a bit when they meet the still-intriguing lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen).

That's a fair amount of characters, but not a whole lot for them to do. The main story is with Billy, Paddy, and Diana, but she is just dropped in as an almost magically-convenient plot device, and the whole thing is thin enough that Archie and Sam seem to be present to fill time as much as anything else, but they are not given anything particularly interesting to do. Heck, even when Sam hits on a woman who turns out to be a drag queen, they don't bother to give Roger Bart any actual funny material as that character. Even the inevitable old-guy jokes seem half-hearted, and the screenplay by Dan Fogelman never builds the connections between these long-time friends: Half the time, they're on their own, and even when they're not, there's only rarely a hint of six decades worth of shared history.

Full review at EFC.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

I have to say that this is such an exciting movie. Made up with a cast that has great records in the media industry. Surely this will be an interesting story to look forward to.