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November 1, 2013
Review: Last Vegas is simple and predictable but saved by its A-list cast
— Posted by Ryan
Synopsis: Three sixty-something friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal.
When I first saw the trailer for this film I didn’t expect much and going into the film my expectations had not changed. The plot is simple, predictable, and could be told through the trailers alone. The humor can be described in the same manner as the plot with a bulk of the jokes being geared towards old age and the process of getting older. The characters fit into a movie formula that we’ve seen many times before, making them seem redundant along with an array of other redundancies. But, despite all of these generic qualities, this film still had some hidden pleasantries that made the film rather enjoyable in the end.
This is not a film that I would pay to see in theaters but it is a film that I would feel satisfied with on a Redbox night. As previously stated, the generic formula of this film has been seen multiple times before in many other films, but the reason this formula is used so much is because it’s a safe bet. Combine a proven formula with an A-List cast and chances of building audience interest are more favorable than not. The film walks a fine line between good and bad and the performances of the cast are the film’s saving grace. Each star in the film is an Academy Award winning actor and honestly it’s just a privilege to see them do their thing. Last Vegas is almost like watching these actors let loose as we see a side of them that is more jovial than we’re used to seeing. The enjoyment came from seeing the cohesive chemistry amongst the group as they easily established an on screen friendship that was as honest and as sincere as the film’s simplicity would allow. The jokes between them and others weren’t laugh-out-loud moments but there were quite a few light chuckles strung together that made the film more than tolerable.
The other enjoyment factor is the colorful setting of Las Vegas mixed in with a group that was out of place. Much like those who found joy in The Bucket List, this film speaks to an audience that enjoys the idea of a youthful heart trapped in a withering body. Vegas is a city of youthful sin and to see a group of aging men mixed into that crowd is a concept that is enjoyable to watch. Each one of these characters indulges in the fruits of Vegas in their own way. All indulge in the female eye candy while others feed their own desires of gambling, sight-seeing, sexual endeavors, and drinking. As they spend their time indulging in pleasures lost with age, they begin to rebuild their own lost relationships and find a happy medium between reliving their youth and coming to terms with their age. With the excitement of Vegas, subtle laughs, and a pretty much guaranteed happy ending, it’s hard not to leave the film feeling happy.
Overall the film was nothing more than a Hollywood cookie cutter comedy. Fortunately, the setting and cast put this film into a category that may not be worthy of an in-theater screening, but it is worthy of some of your rainy day free time. There are many visually pleasing moments accompanied by the exciting Vegas backdrop that seems to be explored from head to toe. Freeman, DeNiro, Kline, and Douglas have great on-screen chemistry together and are proven crowd pleasers. If you are going to see this film, I would suggest seeing it with few expectations and prepare yourself for some simple and mindless fun. Throughout the film the good/bad scale was tethering, but by the end it tilted slightly towards the good. I’ll give this film a 6/10 but it’s a soft 6.
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First and foremost, Ryan Brown is a fan. He has been an avid fan of both the theater and cinema since an early age and his passion for both has been continually growing ever since. When dissecting a film, he focuses on all elements of film-making including some fan/cult factors. He believes that character development is the foundation of a good film and usually starts his analysis of a film from there moving forward. His writing style may be influenced by his background of narrative and argumentative studies in the subject, but he tends to enjoy a more conversational style to better interact with the readers, unlike some other pretentious and pompous writers.
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