Viva Douglas, De Niro, Freeman and Kline! This gang pushing seventy takes off for Vegas to celebrate the wedding of its only single member, Billy (Michael Douglas). Paddy (Bobby De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) are retired and on the verge of packing it in, but decide to give Billy a bachelor party, one last reunion. While the cast of four mega stars has Oscar reverberations, this film would be a clone of The Hangover without its clever script packed with crisp pistol whippin’ dialogue written by Dan Fogelman and the agile direction by Jon Turtletaub. Fogelman (The Guilt Trip) has written a celebration of seniors not just for seniors that has start to finish laughs. Genuine heartfelt laughs. The plot is thin, but you won’t really care. Sure we have the Medicare gags, a few Viagra gags, but the comedic chops these guys display by working off of each other like an Oscar-worthy -improvisational-volley -without -a -pause, makes the price of admission inconsequential and the script’s flaws forgivable.
Billy (Michael Douglas) is engaged to a 32 year old cutie Lisa (Bre Blair) though he is coming up on seventy. Wealthy and a playboy extraordinaire, he arrives in Vegas and accidentally hears a sixty something (Mary Steenburgen) singing in a small almost empty cocktail lounge. Diana provides the sensuality and independent spirit needed to make an impression on Billy. The other bachelors also are attracted to Diana, but it is Billy and Paddy who spar for her attention. Steenburgen is splendid, singing beautifully in a way that shows her serenity and inner peace.
Last Vegas should spawn a sequel of four women going off to Paris for a bachelorette party. Let’s give the girls a movie like this one! With the exception of Diana and Sam’s wife, Miriam (Joanna Gleason), women are objects in Last Paris. Vegas is hardly the city known for liberated women. Alas Steenburgen’s character is a welcome breath of feminism.
The script falls short when these swinging geriatrics enter a disco after Freeman wins $100,000 at black jack, as there is not much forward plot movement or pizzazz and the dialogue turns to boring. But it quickly picks up when our boys judge a beauty contest (sure we’ve seen this before but not with this gang) and when Paddy and Billy lock testosterone over Diana. Dean (Jerry Ferrara) surfaces in the disco, but he is merely a vehicle to supply women to the boys for the final party they will throw and to illustrate that while our boys are close to seventy, they have more sex appeal in their pinkies than youthful Dean with his adolescent macho view of women. Dean does not know how to talk to a woman he fancies and Archie, Mr. Smoothie, gives him clues. Watching Morgan Freeman dance and gyrate those hips is one of the highlights of Last Vegas. He is the only one of these aging swingers to get out there and strut his stuff. It’s scenes like this that keep you smiling and rooting for this group facing the Pearlie Gates on their terms. Smiling as they enter. No self pity here. Last Vegas is about a love of life no matter what the age. And this joie de vivre is contagious. The theatre was packed and laughs were loud and easily had. Analyzing this film is silly. Just as silly as the plot. This film is to be enjoyed. Just sit back in your seat, dig into that pop corn and let the boys entertain you. This film is more like the Full Monty than Hangover Three.
Douglas looks swell for his age. Freeman does not seem to age. DeNiro still has sex appeal at his age. Kline becomes sexier as the film progresses. Kline’s disheveled white locks give him an elder statesman allure. These guys still have it and this is why it is a wrong to say that Last Vegas— with its terrible title –is only for seniors and that when one reaches sixty or seventy, life is over. These handsome men are still going strong and showing us how to laugh at it all.