Rated: Last Vegas, A Surprise Shoo-In For Comedy of the Year

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The Good: The chemistry between the cast, the hilarious yet charming writing, and the overall message.

The Bad: The love story of Michael Douglas, not enough story development in certain parts, and the sense of watching a movie-length commercial.

Last Vegas is a movie about four lifetime best friends in their 70s going to Las Vegas together to celebrate one of them getting married. As trailers for this movie started coming out, you may have thought to yourself, “What is this, The Hangover for Old Men?” You’d be half right. Just like the message of this movie, to truly appreciate this film, you have look past their age. Once you do, you will find that Last Vegas is by far the funniest movie of 2013.

Last Vegas begins in the early years of the lives of Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert DeNiro), Archie (Morgan Freeman), and Sam (Kevin Klein). As children, you see a lot of camaraderie between them. Fast forward 60 years to them as adults, and you see how drastically their lives have changed. Sam has been unhappily married for years, Archie is being smothered by his son after having a stroke, and Paddy continues mourning the loss of his wife who has been gone for some time. Meanwhile, Billy asks his 30-something girlfriend to marry him, and that’s when all hilarity ensues.

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The unfolding story is filmed mostly at The Aria in Las Vegas, and you are constantly reminded of the location through logo placement throughout the movie. Thankfully, other parts of the strip are also seen. Diana (Mary Steenburgen) is a lounge singer at another hotel who charms each of the men (particularly Billy and Paddy) with her quick-witted sassy personality. She is close in age to the “Flatbush Four” and provides an intriguing contrast to them, with being entirely comfortable with herself and living as a free spirit.  As the story develops, it is great to see how some attitudes from childhood have stayed the same throughout the lives of the men. It is also amazing to watch how difficult it is for them to let go of certain assumptions they’ve held for years about themselves as well as about others.

What makes this entire movie so fantastic is that every character is on a quest for something different, and their advanced ages almost don’t matter. You may think that they are trying to regain their youth and show all of those young whippersnappers how it’s done, and again you’d be half right. In reality, the mischievousness they had in childhood hasn’t disappeared, and their inner youthfulness is very evident with how they interact with each other. The sense of boyish optimism is also apparent while each looks for more meaning in their lives. Sam is searching for happiness, Archie wants his freedom, Paddy needs closure, and Billy is looking for love, which accounts for some of the funniest and emotional parts of the film.

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While the entire cast of this movie was terrific, I have to say my favorite two actors had to be Morgan Freeman and Kevin Klein. These two were the funniest, lovable, and most relatable characters as Archie and Sam. As for the other two, I mentioned in the Bad portion that I thought that the love story for Michael Douglas wasn’t great. To be fair, even that wasn’t too bad, though not very realistic. When it comes to Robert DeNiro, how can you hate Robert DeNiro? As usual he’s the smart-mouthed tough guy with a heart of gold, but in Last Vegas, it works on a new level. Although a minor character, Lonnie (Romany Malco), a concierge assigned to the four guys, deserves an honorable mention for making the story even better.

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Overall, I think it speaks volumes when you can look back on a movie and find almost nothing wrong with it. Last Vegas is a charming, hilarious and heartwarming picture that conveys the meaningful message of never being too old to have fun and find your happiness, which I believe everyone young and old can appreciate.

My Score: 9.5 out of 10

 

Written by: Matt Malliaros

Editor: Linda Becker