Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Last Vegas

Film #400


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.

Year 2, Film #35

THE REVIEW: There are many things that I don’t know. There are many things that I haven’t experienced. But there are many things that I feel I can relate to. The humor and relationships in Last Vegas are just two examples. While I may not have been to Vegas or had a bachelor party, among many other things, I still found myself cracking up at the antics of Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman), and Sam (Kevin Kline) and being moved by the friendship these four men have.

Going into this film I was describing it to people as “The Hangover with old people” which is what a lot of the marketing is making out to look like. To put it simply: it isn’t. Yes, both take place in Vegas and both feature a variety of extravagant set pieces and actions. But whereas The Hangover focuses on mayhem and debauchery, Last Vegas focuses on character development and the strong bond four life-long friends have. And yet, it still manages to be as funny, if not funnier, than The Hangover. Of course there are plenty of old-man jokes to go around (“Is it the prostate?”, “Does Lipitor count?”) there are also plenty of other jokes (“I’m Sam the Stove…”) and funny situations (many involving Paddy). I realize that it won’t be everyone’s type of humor — I found myself laughing when no one else in the theater was — but for the most part, the rest of the audience varying in age from college students to an elderly couple that stood behind me in line were also finding the film to be quite hysterical.

Where the film also shines is in the relationships. Every since they were little boys, Billy, Paddy, Archie, and Sam have been best friends. At one point there was a falling out between Paddy and Billy which is the seed of this film from which the conflict arises. And all throughout, as we’re introduced to each of the four men individually, we get to know who they are as people, and what they’re like as a group. Each have a distinct personality that brings something new to the table, but it’s the conglomerate that’s most interesting. There’s a certain level of unspoken dialogue between them as there is with any great friends; not all is said in words. And even though we’re not a part of this group, we can understand everything that is going on. More importantly, there are the general connections that apply more broadly than to just these characters and provide a source to relate to. What Billy did for Paddy (spoiler) and how Paddy responds (spoiler) are vital to the development of these characters but they also provide a lesson for everyone. Some feelings last forever and some feelings can’t be unfelt.

Last Vegas provides some quality entertainment for a wide variety of people. I’m sure the older generation will enjoy it for obvious reasons, but even for a younger generation like my own I feel the humor is universal enough where we can appreciate it even if we haven’t experienced it. While the film is highly amusing and also, what I’d consider, revelatory in some ways, there are also part of the film that feel predictable or like you’ve seen before. Whether it’s the not-as-similar-as-you-might-think The Hangover, or another Vegas-based film like the Ocean’s Trilogy or 21 I found myself feeling complacent; like what I was seeing wasn’t new. For the most part, the humor far outweighed these negatives but nevertheless they are present. Last Vegas is by far the funniest comedy I’ve seen this year and I would recommend seeing it although with a slew of other fantastic films already or coming out, you may want to pass until it comes out on DVD.

Last Vegas opens in theaters on November 1, 2013.

THE RATING: 4 out of 5