The only thing older than the protagonists in Last Vegas are the jokes that the film’s makers come up with. This predictable comedy about four seniors who head to Sin City for one memorable weekend has a moldy, formulaic feel to it, what with all the repeated references to hip surgeries and hemorrhoids and Viagra. But the veteran stars appear to be having a good time, and their laughter is slowly contagious.
When their childhood pal Billy (Michael Douglas) announces that he’s getting married (to a woman half his age), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) decide to throw him a bachelor’s party in Vegas, and somehow manage to convince Paddy (Robert De Niro) to go with them, although he’s been nursing a grudge against Billy.
Never as bold or as original as The Hangover, yet slickly directed by Jon Turteltaub, this film gets most of its laughs from putting its cast through every Vegas cliché you can think of: a bikini contest, a drinking binge, and surprisingly, a windfall at the blackjack table. In between the naughty gags, writer Dan Fogelmen squeezes in moments of unapologetic schmaltz. Like the unresolved issues between De Niro and Douglas’s characters over a romantic triangle with the same girl when they were kids.
At roughly 90 minutes, it’s a good thing the film doesn’t overstay its welcome. The plot unfolds without many surprises, but the actors earn their paychecks, sportingly giving in to the film’s occasionally silly requirements. Morgan Freeman’s Archie, who sneaks out of his overprotective son’s home so he can make it to the party, gets many of the film’s biggest laughs, as does Kevin Kline’s Sam, who can’t stop flaunting the fact that he has a hall pass from his wife to live it up this weekend. Also worthy of mention is Mary Steenburgen as a lovely lounge singer who befriends the men.
I’m going with two-and-a-half out of five for Last Vegas. Good actors can improve mediocre material; this film is evidence of that. Watch it to unwind after a long day at work.