Given an assemblage of Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline and you’d be forgiven for thinking the movie you’re in store for is another installment of the RED action series – that gun-toting retirement fund for sexagenarian and septuagenarian screen stars.
Not so, although given the listlessness with which Last Vegas unfolds, very much in the manner of one of those ‘Saved by the Bell’ specials where the toothsome teens all packed off to Florida or Hawaii or the San Quentin penitentiary, you’ll quite possibly be wishing for someone to start doling out the semi-automatics and for carnage to commence.
But who to aim at first? Director Jon Turtletaub – certainly it seems criminal that with the four screen stars he has at his disposal, he lets them labour through such underwritten dross. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine he would have got crappier results had he cast them as the Jamaican bobsleigh team in his breakthrough movie, Cool Runnings.
With Douglas playing up to off-screen image, as the leathery lothario on the verge of wedding his much-younger girlfriend, it’s left to his childhood buddies, De Niro, Kline and Freeman to take him for a last bachelor blow out in Vegas, and in the process reconnect with their own fire for life – blotted in De Niro’s case by his wife’s death, for Freeman by a health scare, and Kline by the decline of his sex life. Indeed his wife gives him a ‘hall pass’ which leads to some excruciating antics as he tries to get laid in Vegas.
And that’s about it: they mooch around the hotel, Douglas and De Niro’s feud threatens to reignite as they both fall for Mary Steenburgen’s lounge singer, and they get involved in hilarious antics like making Jerry Ferrara’s fratboy think that they’re mobsters. Which is funny because De Niro is known for playing tough guy mobsters… oh god, make it stop.
Then there’s the catwalk parade. The foursome all get collared to be judges at a bikini show, there’s parties, nightclubs, and more than a little sentimentality. The makers have made a big deal about the four Oscar-winners they’ve secured as their leads, but their undeniable watch-ability merely elevates this crap – in other era it would have starred Steenburgen’s real life squeeze Ted Danson in the Douglas role. The biggest laughs come from inappropriate remarks, particularly a last-minute pearler from De Niro. Finally get to see Travis Bickle in a pair of Crocs.
Last Vegas is released in the UK on 3 January