Salisbury Press

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Movie Review: Viva 'Last Vegas'

Wednesday, November 20, 2013 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

"Last Vegas" is a hoot, starring four icons of contemporary cinema who have never appeared together in the same film.

Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline star as senior citizens, who called themselves the Flatbush Four when they were Brooklyn, N.Y., youths. In "Last Vegas," the four reunite in Las Vegas for a bachelor party.

Michael Douglas, who plays Billy, is planning to marry. Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) decide to throw him a bachelor party in Las Vegas. Paddy (Robert De Niro), who had a beef with Billy, reluctantly goes along.

In Vegas, old wounds are reopened and some revelations about aging are made. What happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.

The chief pleasure in "Last Vegas" is seeing four Oscar-winning actors seeming to be having a ball in a comedy romp. Call them The Wizened of Oz. If you like the four Horsemen of Hollywood, you will like "Last Vegas."

Also starring is Mary Steenburgen as a Las Vegas lounge singer, and, in a small role, Joanna Gleason, as Sam's wife, Miriam.

"Last Vegas' opens with photos purporting to show of the four youths back in Flastbush, as well as scenes when they were boys. Then, 58 years later, the title card announces, we are brought up-to-date in the lives of the now four sixtysomethings.

Billy (Michael Douglas) is a successful businessman. Archie (Morgan Freeman) is a content grandfather. Paddy (Robert De Niro) is a bitter, lonely widower. Sam (Kevin Kline) is happily married whose wife gives him a get-out-of suburbia free pass for his weekend in Vegas.

"Last Vegas" is nicely lensed, with director Jon Turteltaub ("National Treasure," its sequel and upcoming part three) giving the once fearsome foursome the time and space to interact, share scenes and breath life and humor into what is an admittedly routine screenplay by Dan Fogelman ("Crazy, Stupid, Love," "Cars," "Tangled").

"Last Vegas" is an ensemble piece, and when you have an ensemble the likes of Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Michael Douglas and Kevin Kline, you know there will be many ensemble moments to savor.

And, while we won't spoil the fun for you, "Last Vegas" is a morality tale set in Sin City.

"Last Vegas" should please the folks at the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Bureau. After you see "Last Vegas," you may feel like you want to schedule your own Vegas weekend getaway. You figure if these four curmudgeons can have fun there, so can you.

"Last Vegas" is "The Hangover" of Generation AARP (The four made the cover of the October-November AARP magazine.). It's fun to see what were once the angry young men of cinema as the Geezer Pack of comedy.

And, while it may not be the first, "Last Vegas" shouldn't be the last film on your movie-going bucket list.

"Last Vegas," MPAA rated PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13.) on appeal for sexual content and language; Genre: Comedy, Run-time: 1 hr., 25 min.; Distributed by CBS Films.

Box Office, Nov. 15: "Thor: The Dark World" nailed No. 1 two weeks in a row, with $38.5 million and $147 million after two weeks, keeping "The Best Man Holiday," second-best, opening with a strong $30.6 million, one week, as "Last Vegas" moved up a notch to No. 3, $8.8 million, $47 million, three weeks;

4. "Free Birds," $8.3 million, $42 million, three weeks; 5. "Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa," $7.6 million, $90.2 million, four weeks; 6."Gravity," $6.2 million, $242 million, seven six weeks; 7. "Ender's Game," $6.2 million, $53.8 million, three weeks; 8. "12 Years A Slave," $4.7 million, $24.9 million, five weeks; 9."Captain Phillips," $4.5 million, $97.6 million, six weeks; 10. "About Time," $3.4 million, $11.6 million, three weeks

Unreel, Nov. 22:

"The Hunger Games: Catching Fire," PG-13: Jennifer Lawrence is back in the title role as Katniss Everdeen. That's all you need to know. Oh, yes, the plot has something to do with Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark becoming targets of the Capitol after their winning the 74th Hunger Games foments a rebellion in the Districts Of Penem. With a plot like that, there may also be a rebellion in the districts of movie critics. Josh Hutcherson is back as Peeta Mellark. Also starring in the sci-fi action film based on the sensationally-popular Suzanne Collins' young adult novels are Stanley Tucci, Woody Harrelson, Donald Sutherland, Elizabeth Banks, Liam Hemsworth, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jeffrey Wright, Amanda Plummer and Lenny Kravits.

"Delivery Man," PG-13: Anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago indicate a man has fathered 533 children. What should he do when 142 of them file a class-action lawsuit seeking his identify? Vince Vaughn stars in the comedy as the hapless donor dad.

Read Paul Willistein's movie reviews at the Lehigh Valley Press web site,; the Times-News web site,; and hear them on "Lehigh Valley Art Salon," 6 - 6:30 p.m. Mondays, WDIY 88.1 FM, and, where they're archived. Email Paul Willistein: pwillistein@ You can follow Paul Willistein on Twitter and friend Paul Willistein on facebook.