“Last Vegas” could be seen as a milder, older-skewing remake of “The Hangover.” The film is funny, but it doesn’t try to do anything new or original. “Last Vegas” is aware that it won’t deliver much more than an onslaught of old-person gags. The film’s formula comes down to bringing together great, aging stars and throwing them into a variety of situations that have been covered in films and sitcoms before. There is a small, dramatic side plot, but the real focus is kept on the punch lines.
When Billy (Michael Douglas) is about to get hitched to a woman half his age, his three old friends Paddy (Robert De Niro), Sam (Kevin Kline) and Archie (Morgan Freeman) decide to throw him a bachelor party in Las Vegas. To no one’s surprise, hijinks ensue and the men must work to maintain friendships that have faded in the passage of time.
“Last Vegas” is all puns and gags about aging. Fortunately, most of them are actually pretty witty, but the comedy relies a bit too much on elderly jokes. The premise of the story is how old people react to a modern, hipper Las Vegas, but only stale and obvious jokes result from the plotline.
Even though all four leads are Academy Award winning actors, they play these roles knowing that they won’t see any awards coming their way. But all four are having a good time and are refreshingly self-aware of their elderly status and are willing to poke fun at it. Freeman gives the liveliest performance of the lead quartet, acting out most of the physical comedy in the movie. Kline, who is the lesser known of the quartet, is also noticeably and hilariously witty.
“Last Vegas” knows that it only serves to just make people laugh for a little bit. While it isn’t gut-bustingly funny, it packs some brilliant one-liners. It doesn’t try too hard to be anything new or noteworthy, but is content to entertain in its rehash of a well-worn narrative. Its distracting dramatic story diminishes its effect, but it packs in so many jokes that it hardly even matters.