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Review: 'Last Vegas' Is Hellish Vision

Photo of John Anderson By John Anderson | Thompson on Hollywood October 31, 2013 at 2:16PM

Jon Turteltaub’s “Last Vegas,” which won’t be the last of anything, is a visionary movie -- the vision being hellish. We’ve already been seeing the likes of it -- aging stars, packaged together for amalgamated throw-weight. And we’re going to see more of its comedic ilk as the Boomers slouch toward the box office/grave, with humor that rests -- as if against an aluminum walker -- on cheap geriatric sex gags, prostate jokes, bad eyesight.
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"Last Vegas"
"Last Vegas"

Jon Turteltaub’s “Last Vegas,” which won’t be the last of anything, is a visionary movie -- the vision being hellish. We’ve already been seeing the likes of it -- aging stars, packaged together for amalgamated throw-weight. And we’re going to see more of its comedic ilk as the Boomers slouch toward the box office/grave, with humor that rests -- as if against an aluminum walker -- on cheap geriatric sex gags, prostate jokes, and bad eyesight. 

And the presumption that people as potent as Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline would never actually NEED Viagra, because, after all, they’re movie stars.

Trailers, generally, are created out of footage from a given film. Not vice versa, which is the sense one gets from “Last Vegas” -- that the movie was an afterthought, and that any random 30 seconds could be fashioned into an advertisement. But this kind of style, with its epileptic-seizure editing and silicon-bolstered supporting cast, may be just right for a foreign audience, which is likely where “Last Vegas” is going to hit the jackpot.

None of its stars are hard to watch, even Michael Douglas, but Kevin Kline gives one pause. This is partly because he’s playing older -- at 66, he’s a decade younger than Freeman, about four years younger than De Niro and Douglas, and has never made enough movies to suit his fans, who won’t be surprised that he’s the best thing in “Last Vegas.” He creates the most sympathetic character and exhibits the best comic timing and does so despite having the least defined persona among the so-called “Flatbush Four,” whom we first meet 58 years ago, when their future selves were formed: Paddy (De Niro) the tough-guy/sourpuss; Billy (Douglas) the slightly oily operator; Archie (Freeman), the strong but gentle humanist, and Sam (Kline) who’s really hard to pin an adjective on. Basically, he seems to be Kevin Kline with white hair, glasses and a condom in his pocket, which he got from his wife (Joanna Gleason) along with the permission to use it, as long as he never tells her what happened. It seems slightly pathetic, as regards both domesticity and screenwriting.

No city has gotten the kind of fellating that Las Vegas gets from “Last Vegas,” which can’t impress on us enough what a party-hearty town it is, how no one ever goes broke or even goes home -- the plotline seems to go on for days, as the four Flatbushinos strive, desperately, to put a celebratory spin on Billy’s upcoming nuptials, with a woman some 40 years his junior. To their credit, they think it’s a bad idea. It’s not the only one.

This article is related to: Reviews, Reviews, Robert De Niro, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman, Kirk Douglas


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