I finally got around to watching Last Vegas. It’s a movie that struck me as being tailor made as a variation on The Hangover for the older generation. The film itself is passable and the laughs are on all the topics we would expect them to be. Mixed in are some dramatic scenes to flesh out the characters of four long time bankable actors. That’s the whole point of a film like this. To team four well know and in some cases revered actors together allowing them to entertain us.
It’s hard to believe that Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline had never crossed paths prior to this. The script plays up there career paths having Douglas dating a young bombshell, De Niro looking cranky and playing tough when needed. Freeman is the gentle peace keeper, full of knowledge and advice while Kline is all for comedy relief and quite possibly taking advantage of the hall pass his wife has bestowed upon him for the Vegas festivities.
Whether or not we the viewer find a film like this beneath the talents of the leading actors is not the point. The point is to ensure that they work together so when we look back fondly on their careers we will have seen them share the screen together. Stop and think about some of your favorites that never worked together for one reason or the other. How about Gary Cooper and John Wayne!
We never got to see that John Huston film that was to star Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable. Bogart’s death cheated us out of the original vision Huston had for The Man Who Would Be King. Growing up I had hoped to see Clint Eastwood and Charles Bronson team up on the big screen for an action film that never took place. For the music fans how about Elvis teaming up with Barbara Streisand in A Star is Born or trading off lyrics with Martin or Sinatra. No such luck.
So for every Last Vegas quartet that comes along from Arnold and Sly finally teaming up at an elderly age to Michael Douglas himself appearing with dad Kirk in a so-so drama it’s not always the film that counts but the opportunity to see the film stars we have enjoyed for years finally sharing the screen together. Can you imagine a film world with no Rod Steiger-Marlon Brando scene.
How about the Davis-Crawford clash in Baby Jane? For more recent times how about Heat where we had the dynamics of a Pacino-De Niro showdown. So although Last Vegas is a by the numbers comedy, I’ll take it to see four pros share some screen time for my enjoyment as opposed to never at all.