Here’s something even more unlikely: “Last Vegas,” a formulaic comedy that assembles four old-school Hollywood hotshots — Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline — for a trouble-filled weekend of Sin City fun, is nowhere near as bad as it sounds. Sure, “Last Vegas” occasionally takes the easy road when it comes to comedy (Viagra jokes? Yawn), but the movie remains enjoyable because its actors are so enjoyable.
Assembling the four leads for a bachelor party in Vegas, the movie places the foursome in some fairly predictable predicaments. Naturally, playing characters who’re in their 60s automatically means the men are completely out of touch. Do you mean to tell me, in the 10 years since “In Da Club” and the advent of energy drinks, that not one of these dudes has heard of 50 Cent or Red Bull? Furthermore, can two characters walk past a hotel pool without one of them pushing the other one in?
“Last Vegas” gets into some potentially icky territory, too. As expected with any movie in which 60-somethings are given an opportunity to relive their glory days, we are expected to believe women half their age will be throwing themselves at them. Kline, in particular, is probably the most memorable of the bunch, but he is saddled with what has to be the ickiest subplot in the movie. Douglas and De Niro, who have been estranged for a few years, are forever bickering over a former flame, which leads to some predictable blow-ups. And Freeman is given an overprotective son who keeps showing up to ruin his fun.
Mary Steenburgen is also in the film, a potential love interest for at least two of the characters and a breath of fresh air for the movie itself. Prickly and intelligent, she’s a fine balance in a movie that plays a lot like a toned-down “Hangover” sequel, if the Wolfpack made more references to Lipitor.
“Last Vegas” doesn’t have much ambition, unless you count being able to see Freeman open up and have a little more fun than he is used to having in a movie. The rest of the cast is playing characters you’re used to seeing them play, and if you don’t have a problem seeing them play them one more time, “Last Vegas” is worth the gamble.
★★½ out of ★★★★
Rated PG-13. 105 minutes.
Director: Jon Turtletaub. Starring: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro.