Last Vegas

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam are childhood friends from Flatbush, Brooklyn, who are living in their senior years. Sam and his wife Miriam are living mundane lives in a retirement village in Naples,_Florida. Archie, twice-divorced and retired from the Air Force, lives with his overprotective son Ezra and his family in New Jersey after suffering a stroke. Paddy lives alone in his Brooklyn apartment, a curmudgeon in grief since the death of his wife, Sophie, over a year ago. Billy is a successful entrepreneur in Malibu, California, who lives with his 31-year-old girlfriend Lisa. Shortly after proposing to Lisa, Billy finds an old bottle of scotch he and his friends stole in their childhood days and calls Sam and Archie, who immediately propose a bachelor party for Billy in Las Vegas before his wedding that weekend. After being given permission by Miriam to cheat on her, Sam flies to New Jersey to pick up Archie in secret. They drive Brooklyn to collect Paddy and fly off to rendezvous with Billy in Vegas.

The quartet meet up at the airport, where Billy and Paddy get into a heated argument. They had a falling-out when Billy failed to attend Sophie’s funeral. Archie breaks up the fight and demands they stop and enjoy the weekend for a change and to celebrate Billy’s wedding with a little fun because “they need this.” They head to Binion’s Gambling Hall and Hotel to check in, only to realize that the hotel is closed for renovations. Billy gets his assistant to find them a room at the Aria Resort and Casino, since that is where the wedding will be held. While taking a break in the casino, they meet Diana, a lounge singer who charms the guys as they joke about Sam’s sex life, Archie’s medical issues and Billy’s young bride. Paddy begins to express his anger toward Billy for not attending Sophie’s funeral and is eventually charmed by Diana into rejoining the group over some martinis. They convince Diana to join them at The Aria where they get stuck in a traffic jam and walk down The Las Vegas Strip. While waiting for their rooms, Archie goes to a blackjack table and has a brief altercation with a cocky gambler named Dean. After Dean leaves the table, Archie buys chips with $15,000 (half of his pension funds), much to Sam and Paddy’s surprise. Later, Paddy warns Sam that Archie is on a losing streak and has lost nearly $9,000. They rush to pull him off the table, only to discover that he is actually up $102,000. The trio are noticed by the pit boss and they reluctantly leave the table in fear of being accused of cheating. Meanwhile, as Billy tours the wedding chapel with Diana, he becomes charmed with her as she explains to him that she moved to Vegas because she was recently laid off as a tax attorney in Atlanta and always wanted to sing despite being a divorced single mother.

Later, the quartet become judges of a wild swimsuit competition. They are then confronted by the casino manager, who was impressed with Archie’s blackjack game; he happily gives them the best penthouse suite to stay in with their own host, Lonnie, who reluctantly accepts the job as the original guest was supposed to be 50 Cent. Upon entering the suite, Billy suggests they open the old bottle of scotch to celebrate the gang’s reunion, but Paddy confronts him about his absence from Sophie’s funeral and leaves the group. That night, the remaining three go to Haze where they cut the line after waiting for over an hour where the bouncer stops them and tells them that they can only enter if they buy bottle service, which they eventually agree to after seeing more women enter the club. There, Billy and Sam talk with the bride-to-be and maid-of-honor from a bachelorette party while Archie goes dancing. Dean comes by and begins groping the bachelorette and is stopped by Archie, Billy and Sam. Dean attempts to throw a punch at Billy but is knocked down by Paddy, who stopped by to give Archie his cell phone due to several missed calls by Ezra.

The next day, while the others are hungover and recovering, Paddy visits Diana and tells her that he and Billy were both in love with Sophie when they were younger and she picked Paddy to be hers. Diana catches his eye while she tries to convince him to stop grieving and move on with life because Sophie would want it. Afterwards, Paddy joins Billy at their pool cabana and admits he needs to move on from Sophie’s passing while also showing concern for Billy about marrying a younger woman. The others join in and discuss throwing a big party in their suite. Later, Dean is brought in by Lonnie to the cabana to apologize for his behavior and is tricked into believing the quartet are four mafia members from the East Coast called “The Flatbush Four.” As Billy relaxes, the other three get fancy suits and (with help from Dean) prepare for the bachelor party and invite several people including the bachelorette party, exotic dancers, a band of transvestites, and cast members of Zarkana. Billy later visits Diana at her job, where she tells him she is fond of him. As they walk along The Strip, Billy tells Diana that Paddy gave Sophie an ultimatum to choose either Billy or him and she secretly chose Billy first, but Billy felt Sophie was meant to be with Paddy so she went with Paddy instead.

The bachelor party goes into full force as Paddy gets ready to be social again. Sam meets the maid of honor from the night before who begins flirting with him to his delight. Archie dances with the bachelorette and other female partygoers, gives advice to Dean on how to meet women properly, and is confronted by a surprise appearance from a worried Ezra, who is later told by Archie to simply enjoy this special time with his father. Ezra calms down and accepts. As Sam and the maid of honor head upstairs to be alone, he encourages and enjoys her seductive ways but eventually turns them down as he says while the experience of sex with her would be so spectacular, he has a tradition of telling Miriam about all the wonderful things that happen in his life. In order to stay wonderful, he’d have to tell his wife about what really happened in Vegas, which would be devastating to her. Paddy tells Billy he invited Diana to the party because he likes her and wants to start anew after Sophie’s passing, but realizes Billy likes her too. They rush to meet her as she enters the party and Billy pushes Paddy into the decorative pool and takes Diana upstairs to tell her that Paddy likes her and to give him a chance. She gets embarrassed and feels like she is being treated like Sophie and “gifted” by Billy when Paddy walks in and hears the whole story about Sophie and Billy for the first time. Paddy is devastated and finds the old bottle of scotch, throws it in the trash and leaves the party.

The next morning, Paddy confronts Billy at the pool and tells him he does not know women like he loved Sophie for all the years they were together and that the wedding must be stopped. As Lisa and her bridesmaids arrive, Paddy pushes Billy into the pool and as a return favor for his being with Sophie, Paddy tells Lisa the wedding is off. Billy and Lisa talk it over while the guys have small talk with the bridesmaids who are now prepared for a sloppy drunken time with an angry Lisa. As the guys pack up to leave, Billy comes to terms with his age and admits his fear of getting old and being alone. They come together as friends again and tell Billy to go see Diana. Billy shows up at Diana’s job and reveals his feelings for her. The guys say their goodbyes to Dean and Lonnie and finally decide to crack open the old bottle of scotch for a final toast.

A few months later, Billy and Diana call Archie and Paddy to announce they are getting married. They try to call Sam but he is unable to answer the phone as he is busy in bed with Miriam.

REVIEW:

I feel kind of guilty about watching Last Vegas because my best friend has been dying to see thing and hasn’t had the chance, yet. I did invite her over to watch with me, though. This is a film that wasn’t very well received by critics, and yet many moviegoers actually liked it. So, which side of the coin do I fall on?

What is this about?

Four sixtysomething pals — Billy, Paddy, Archie and Sam — gather in Las Vegas to celebrate Billy’s upcoming nuptials with the intention of running wild for four straight days. But Sin City has gotten a lot crazier than they could’ve ever imagined.

What did I like?

2 wild and crazy guys. Kevin Kline and Morgan Freeman are the funny guys of this foursome, especially Kline. With all the drama going on between Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro’s character, it was a great change of pace to get some comedy in a comedy film. With Freeman, we get comedy based mostly on his age, which works for this film, since that is part of the running joke. Kline partly uses the same formula but, being a bit of a comedic actor, he uses his own talents to become the film’s standout character…and he does it without his Viagra pill and condom!

Bachelors. Cinema history is littered with bachelor parties that take place in Vegas, most recently The Hangover (before it spiraled down into an unnecessary trilogy). The thing about all these films is that they are usually a bunch of guys in their 20s or 30s, maybe a couple in their 40s, but never do we see the older generation in a bachelor party. A major draw for this film is the fact that we have these sixty something year old guys in Vegas for a bachelor party. The gags and adventures are about the same as they are with the 20 and 30 somethings, but from the view of older guys. Gags such as club music sounding all the same, which it does, being old enough to be girls’ grandfathers, etc. surprisingly had me laughing out loud.

Party Rock. I didn’t catch how they ended up doing this, but somehow the guys were able to judge a bikini contest. It seemed like they just walked up and started judging, but it is possible that might have been one of the perks of the stay at their hotel. More on that later, though. As a red-blooded, straight man, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring up the bikini contest and the gorgeous ladies they were prancing out there. Perhaps they weren’t all 10s, but they were lookers. Of course, the one I liked the best is the one De Niro’s character gave the lowest rating to. Go figure!

What didn’t I like?

Liberace. I’m not sure, but I think Michael Douglas was either filming this at the same time or right after Behind the Candelabara. I say that because he is a distinct shade of orange and isn’t in the film as much as the other three guys. I’d say this is because he is the biggest star, but you have Robert De Niro and Morgan Freeman in the cast, both Oscar winners in their own right, and Kevin Kline who is better known that we give him credit for. Douglas just seems to not be fully invested in this film until the penultimate scene, where he actually gets to flex his acting chops, and that just wasn’t working for me, making his character, who actually is a somewhat likable guy, just meh for me.

Fiancee. I realize this is a bachelor party film, but Douglas’ fiancée seems to be forgotten. She is mentioned a couple of times, but until she shows up before the wedding, we totally forgot about her. Maybe I’m just spoiled by other films in this vein, but shouldn’t she have at least gotten more than a couple of mentions? Ironically, the one that brings her up, is the singer that Douglas was hitting on during the weekend.

Drama. There is some bad blood between Michael Douglas and Robert De Niro’s characters. The conflict between the two of them festers so long that it nearly costs what is left of their friendship and ruins the weekend for all four guys. All of it apparently because Douglas didn’t come to the funeral of De Niro’s wife. Perhaps I’m just a cold-hearted bastard, but that just doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to throw out a friendship and/or hold a grudge for all these years. Sure, you can be disappointed, but get over it and move on, I say.

If there is anything that one can get out of Last Vegas, it is that old people can have just as much fun, if not more, than younger folks. This comedy showcases that and even shows that they can still get with the ladies (for lack of a more appropriate phrase) like the jazz/lounge singer played by Joanna Cassidy, something we don’t normally see on film, at least in a more “realistic” sense. Do I recommend this film? Yes, very highly. I had no idea that I would enjoy this film as much as I did. This has definitely been one of the best surprises of the year. Check it out!

4 out of 5 stars

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