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VegasFlicks: Last Vegas Review

By Chuckmonster on Monday, 4th November 2013 5:45pm
  » filed under Las Vegas  comments: 17


Last Vegas

It would be easy to describe Last Vegas as little more than Grumpy Old Men meets The Hangover set inside a two hour Aria infomercial. On some levels it is an accurate description, however it completely misses the point.

Last Vegas is a coming of age movie about The Flatbush Four, a quartet of young teens who solidified their friendship in 1950's Brooklyn. The crew engages in typical bond creating hijinks, lovingly hurling insults at each other, cold cocking enemies, competing for girls and procuring under age booze.

Nearly sixty years later, Billy, a lifetime bachelor portrayed by Michael Douglas, finally decides to settle down, marrying a woman less than half his age. Billy conference calls Archie (Morgan Freeman), a retired policeman currently convalescing at his son's house after a minor stroke, and Sam (Kevin Kline), a bored-to-death retiree living in Boca Raton, to share the news that he is eloping to Vegas for a Sunday wedding at "The Aria." Quickly, a plan is hatched to have a bachelor party in Vegas, but with one question - who is going to be saddled with the dread of inviting Paddy, the recently widowed crusty curmudgeon portrayed by Robert DeNiro. Every crew has at least one asshole... if your crew doesn't, guess what, you're it.

These four seventy-something friends converge on Las Vegas and engage in all manner of Vegas tomfoolery while unresolved issues boil to the surface, repeatedly testing the strength of their life long bond.

Last Vegas is beyond the Flatbush Four. It is a magical coming together of four beloved actors of advancing age, performing "in type" as if their entire careers have led to this movie. Michael Douglas' 'Billy' is clearly Michael Douglas as seen through Gordon Gekko - transplanted to Malibu, retired, wealthy and marrying a younger woman. Robert DeNiro's 'Paddy' is a composite of every hard assed, fist throwing, short tempered, big hearted role he's ever played, from Raging Bull to Meet the Fockers. Archie's wardrobe choices and personal style are straight from Morgan Freeman's stint as Easy Reader on The Electric Company. Kevin Kline's "Sam" is an amalgam of his career roles from fuddyduddy presidential impersonator in Dave to chapeau wearing Nathan Landau in Sophie's Choice. Last Vegas also features a jaw dropping reference to Kline's real-life wife Phoebe Cates' most famous scene.

This isn't The Hangover. Thankfully it isn't Hangover Part II or Part III either. If you paid money for either of those last two bombs, you're probably hesitant to dive in to Last Vegas, and for good reason. Unlike Hangover Part III, which was ruined by the omni-present continuity errors and rewriting of Vegas' geography to better suit promotional partner Caesars Entertainment, Last Vegas treats all of Las Vegas as a top billed co-star. Throughout Last Vegas, we're gifted sumptuous amounts of Vegas porn via flyovers, location shots and an astonishing array of Aria product placements, the density and transparency of which caused my only eye rolls of the movie. Dan Fogelman's script is chock full of Vegas gags - low hanging fruit to prime cuts of Vegas nerdery, particularly when the Flatbush Four arrive to check in at Binion's.

Coming of age isn't just about going through puberty or losing your virginity, it is about the hard-to-quantify relationship between time, experience and maturity. The Flatbush four shared all of those milestones together, along with marriage, children, work, retirement and death - right to the doorstep of facing their own personal mortality. We all have our running crew, that special person or persons who you have shared your life's timeline with, living parallel paths that eventually set out on individual trajectories, yet pinging back along the way and creating undefinable magic whenever they intersect. At these moments life becomes greater than the sum of its parts and all worries - including the ultimate worry - vanish.

When I started this website nearly ten years ago, I was a spry and sprightly, wide eyed, fresh faced 34-year-old boy. Now, as I'm staring at start of the downward slide into 50, my the beard has gone gray, my knees crunch when I flex them, I've never heard of 99% of the DJ's advertised on Vegas billboards and TV shows along the gossip pages are filled with names I've never heard of. I've also realized that I can't survive on coffee and Cheetos anymore, nor can I work a full 9 hour day, break for dinner and then work another 7 hours before going to bed. If that wasn't bad enough, I regularly have to get up out of bed in the middle of the night to pee. I've used my body well. What was taut is now stretched out. I'm getting old. But I know, after spending a weekend in Vegas with my Flatbush Four, that we're all in the same boat and our friendship, built around our love for Las Vegas, makes me feel invincible.

Tagged: vegasflicks   last vegas   review   aria   


Comments & Discussion:

Chuckmonster is 44

... going on 9.

"Now, as I'm staring at start of the downward slide into 50..."

Chuck feels old.

C'mon, Mr. Monster. Steve Wynn hadn't even built The Mirage yet when he was your age. You have a long way to go before you lose touch and find yourself loaning out your nightclub to your son-in-law.

detroit - How's your hip?

@minvegas - Jesus was dead for a fifteen years by the time he got to be my age. So was Thurman Munson, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, John Belushi, Bruce Lee, Andy Kaufman, Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Charlie Parker, Marilyn Monroe, Lou Gherig, John F. Kennedy, Sam Kinison and Martin Luther King.

Being 44 is enviable, try 64. There are three signs of old age, 1st is loss of memory and I forget the other two. It takes me all night to do what I used to do all night. Every morning, it's snap, crackle and pop. Rimshoot, I'm on a roll. At least I qualify for senior discounts now. Just stay health, happy and enjoy.

Old? Ha Old! Whathehellwasitalking about? O_o

I first started noticing that i was getting old last year when on my first day in Vegas after eating at Wicked Spoon after walking back to the Trop I never went back out. I still walk all over the place but now I dont care when I get back to the hotel because I know when I get there i am probably staying in unless I am really hungry. My first trip back to Vegas after high school was in 2004 and on the last day I woke up at 11 am Vegas time and didnt go to sleep until 2am Chicago time the following day. Would I do that now? Hell no.

I just hope I live long enough to get as old as you guys. @chuckmonster, wasn't hip, it's spine. fml.

Great review Sir Charles, and I think for an old man (4 years my senior) you look fucking great!! I will share a beer and a shot of whiskey at El Cortez with you any day!!

Lovely bride and I took the flick in last Friday nite. We got primed at our favorite tequila bar over dinner - then to the theater. It was a very enjoyable movie. Enough Vegas porn to get our fix, solid acting and a decent story line. Nice, funny feel-good Vegas movie.

Feeling old Chuck ? I'm your same age and went this past Saturday to see Testament play live, did I join the mosh pit ? Hell yeah ! ............. neck still hurts from head banging though.
Here's to another 40, salúd !!!

MEMO - with Lamb of God? Thinking of going on Friday.

Huntress - Testamet - Killswitch Engage - Lamb of God.......free show !
Now to rest until December when they bring Megadeth.
God bless our Tigua Indians from El Paso ! Hahaha

Enjoy Chuck !

I really enjoyed the movie. I watched it in an empty theater and I did have to yell at the screen a couple of time for Vegas errors. The first is the reference to Binion's hotel being closed for months, try years. Then they get out of the cab on the strip heading from downtown to Aria (fortunately they had a local in the cab, because they would have been long hauled for sure) and they walk north in front of The Mirage Volcano. Other than that, I think they did a good job of representing why we all love Vegas.

Based upon the TV ads and movie trailers released before Nov 1, I was thinking that the movie would not be a big hit as expected and have some negative comments.

Rottentomatoes.com has less than 50% rating. Bummer since I like De Niro.

I plan still to see this movie just for the actors and city sights.

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