Stand Up Guys

Year: 2012
Production Co: Lakeshore Entertainment
Director: Fisher Stevens
Producer: Noah Haidle
Writer: Sidney Kimmel
Cast: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Juliana Marguiles, Mark Margolis, Lucy Punch, Addison Timlin

It's a simple gangster story. Elderly Doc (Walken) waits outside a jail to pick up his friend Val (Pacino) who's just been released.

They set about enjoying themselves despite a little awkwardness between them, and soon we find out why. A local mob boss has assigned Doc to kill Val for the death of his son in the heist that put Val away 28 years before.

Val soon figures out what's up, and Doc's just waiting for the right time, so they go and break their old friend Hirsch (Arkin) out of the old folks home where he lives and spend the night having some fun – eating at a local diner, knocking over a chemist for Viagra so Val can complete the transaction he's begun at a local house of ill repute, and helping a young lady who's been on the receiving end of goons working for the mob boss Doc's under instruction with.

So why is it so terrible? Director Fisher Stevens isn't exactly a newcomer, having been a support player in the industry since the early 1980s in Short Circuit and Vince the comic sidekick in the ace My Science Project.

First, there's no plot. The characters just drift around, not doing anything that causes any consequences later in the story. Each plot turn, new character or situation seems like it's been dropped in from a short film to fill up the running time of a feature.

I've also never seen Pacino looking so obviously his age before. Instead of the fire and anger that drove him in Scarface and carried him much farther than it ever should have, he just looks like a tired old man here.

Throw in Walken playing the stoic, quiet one and Arkin playing the guy who's so sick they have to get him off a respirator to be their getaway driver for the night and there's so little forward momentum or energy it's like a Merchant Ivory movie with occasional flashes of violence and profanity.

Lazy, underdeveloped, undersold and boring.

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