Howling ‘last hurrah’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Howling ‘last hurrah’

/ 12:42 AM May 17, 2014

DOUGLAS AND DE NIRO. Portray serial rivals in “Last Vegas.”

“Last Vegas,” as its titles suggests, is a film showcase for senior actors whose characters are having their last, big fling at life by coming together again as BFFs in the gambling capital of the United States, in a howling “last hurrah” for the ages.

The specific reason is the wedding of Michael Douglas’ character to a woman half his age! But, it turns out that the weekend reunion is destined to bring up old wounds and conflicts, especially the one involving Douglas’ character and the grumpy, old geezer portrayed by Robert de Niro.


The two former best friends loved the same “perfect” girl, way back when, but it was De Niro who married her and had a happy life with her for many decades. So, what’s the problem? It turns out that, when his wife passed away, he expected Douglas to help him deal with the heavy loss—but his friend never showed up.


Paddy (De Niro’s character) bears this grudge for years, but temporarily puts it on hold because their two other friends, played by Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline, beg him to join them, even if the hurt still rankles.

What’s ironic about the friends’ reunion in their senior years is how the present “xeroxes” the past in a hopefully instructive way: De Niro and Douglas find themselves both falling (again!) for the same woman, a singer portrayed by  Mary Steenburgen.

At first, they don’t see the “déjà vu” land mines where they lurk. After all, Douglas is supposed to get married to somebody else, so he has no right to contest and contradict De Niro’s romantic aspirations yet again!

‘Illogical’ attraction

Still, quite confoundingly, the “illogical” attraction winks at all of the senior players involved, and it forces Douglas to reconsider his plan to get hitched to a woman young enough to be his granddaughter!

Given this central déjà vu plot line, the film is firmly focused on the rivalry between the two “serial” rivals played by De Niro and Douglas. While the plot premise is viable, it eventually turns out to be too tautologically repetitive to provide the movie with a firm enough basis  to keep viewers continually interested.


—Which is not to say that the film’s principal players don’t come up with strong and committed portrayals—they simply go through pretty much the same storytelling territory too many times.

As for Morgan and Kline, they may not “carry” the production in terms of plotting and screen exposure, but they do get their own thespic licks in, with Kline portraying a man “trapped” in a good but now boring marriage, and Freeman burdened with a son who fears for his health and safety—and thinks he’s too old to live!

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Despite these droll individual contributions, however, “Last Vegas” doesn’t add up to a truly enjoyable and insightful viewing experience, especially because it chooses to end with a really raucous bachelor’s party that’s more bloated and over-reaching for a big, boffo ending than a genuine cause for celebration.

TAGS: Las Vegas, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, movie, Robert De Niro

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