Hollywood loves success. If it was able to bottle the ‘magic money formula’ it would. A sure-fire way is with sequels, remakes and copy-cats. Last Vegas falls into the latter. An elderly version of the popular Hangover series, its older ‘men behaving badly’ motif is wrung for all its worth. The strong cast make this creaky knock-off work despite its soft humour as their characters raise light hell in America’s City of Sin.
When mature-aged Billy (Michael Douglas) becomes engaged to a young lady, he decides to throw one last hell-raising weekend on the town. He enlists life-long friends Paddy (Robert DeNiro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) for assistance. Determined to relive their glory days, they travel to Las Vegas for a weekend of debauchery. Trouble transpires as past actions and dubious desires threaten to derail their once solid friendships.
Last Vegas is an amiable time-waster notable for its fine cast. The veteran performers show good comic timing in spite of the often silly plot. You believe in their characters’ long-time relationships, their fears of ageing and holding onto regrets. Their skills are aided by a focussed story knowing when not to descend into sentimentality. It has some drama that doesn’t take away from the main aim of providing laughs. It generally succeeds in spite of the script’s predictability.
The cinematography captures Vegas in all its kitsch glory in a cavalcade of colours. Scenes involving the old and new sections of Vegas intertwine well with the overall themes of finding fresh purpose and refusing to emotionally stagnate. These moments make Last Vegas above average compared to similar movies trying too hard for laughs.
Consistently enjoyable and amusing, Last Vegas avoids descending into clichés. There are some but they don’t take away from its humorous look at how growing old disgracefully may not be too bad a thing.
Reviewed by Patrick Moore
Rating out of 10: 6