Last Vegas

Year: 2014
Production Co: CBS Films
Director: Jon Turtletaub
Writer: Dan Fogelman
Cast: Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Romany Malco

In a way Last Vegas encapsulates everything wrong with Robert De Niro's career over the last decade and a half. His co-stars have all been guilty of slumming it for paycheques in hokey studio comedies, but the searing talent that once gave us Jake LaMotta, Jimmy Conway and Vito Corleone seems long gone.

Four old guys go to the youth, money and beauty obsessed Las Vegas, and you can imagine the rest. The conceit is that Billy (Douglas) is having a bachelor party in Vegas to marry a trophy wife half his age, and his lifelong friends Archie (Freeman), Paddy (De Niro) and Sam (Kline) go along to celebrate just at the time when they're asking themselves if life has anything else to offer.

From the oft-referenced rift between Billy and Paddy to the romantic tension from lounge singer Diana (Steenburgen) when she falls in with the group, there's enough here to keep the story afloat, but the story itself is just a device to deliver all the trailer-worthy gags about the elderly that you expect.

Being set and shot in Vegas, it's also the perfect opportunity for plenty of young female flesh, even though it's a movie about four old guys (as I read in one review, one wonders if the genders had been reversed). It's also a fairy tale in that it shows how people just like us (ie with no money) can end up winning a fortune at blackjack, judging a bikini contest and having a a hot party surrounded by beautiful women – the fantasy we all have about Vegas before we eat the $4.99 buffet and go back to our cheap hotel rooms nearly broke.

Not in the least original and not very funny either. Any business it's done will be thanks to the combined mainstream appeal of the leads, so neither director Turtletaub nor CBS Films knew they had to do much work beyond getting the cast.

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