It seems easy to dismiss Last Vegas an old-person retread of The Hangover, but there’s a key element that those criticisms are missing: this film doesn’t have anything in common with that 2009 hit. Last Vegas contains a regal assortment of actors, all who seem to be having a blast with the material; the fact that the material is marginal at best goes out the window when it becomes understood the good-natured intentions of the film. The comedy is rooted in horny asides and mostly come from Kevin Kline, who lights up in a refreshing way; who knew that a character arc involving his wife giving him a condom to get his spunk back would be something that actually became progressively funnier? And that Robert De Niro doing his same old schtick would provide such a marked poignancy near the film’s conclusion? These are utterly simplistic threads that Last Vegas makes work.
The film is one of those rare instances where the five main roles are filled by actors over 60, and the love story contains an intimacy that most comedies still fail to accomplish. It becomes a bit convoluted near its conclusion, and genuinely strange; in fact, involving Douglas and De Niro in a love triangle with Mary Steenburgen (who still shines like a gem on screen) sounds a lot better on paper than it plays here. It’s all an excuse to bring these characters together, surrounded by a cheesy plot filled with jokes aimed at teenagers. Maybe that’s why I unashamedly laughed so much. Expectations become a huge part of comedy. Yet everyone choosing Last Vegas as the “terrible” comedy of 2013 might be too close-minded or ready to write a negative review for a funny piece of entertainment. It misses opportunities to become anything more, but it’s rooted in the long-lasting power of friendship. If a joke about ass hair is grounded in love, that should be worth something.
Grade: ★★★ (out of 5)