Last Vegas is Fun, Predictable, and Surprisingly Heartfelt




Since its pre-production days, Last Vegas, directed by Jon Turteltaub (National Treasure), has repeatedly been compared to a "Hangover" for the Hollywood superstars of the '70s and '80s.

While the film does have a similar premise- four best friends take on Vegas for one last bachelor bro-fest- and, yes, it drips with a familiar punchline predictability and the story line does revolve around the same three narrative peaks (women, booze, and women again), there is one glaring and critical difference between The Hangover and Last Vegas— age.

It's the six decade friendship between Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman), and Sam (Kevin Kline) that makes their jokes seem just a little bit funnier, their ball-busting jabs just a little bit meatier, and their various falling outs and reconciliations just a little bit more meaningful.

Because of their 58-year-bond, and the life experiences they've shared along the way, the entire film comes across as far more heartfelt than its 2009 schmucky counterpart.

In one particularly warming scene, the "Flatbush Four" share a bottle of scotch, stolen during their rug-rat days in 1950's Brooklyn. Billy's saved it all this time. Taking a swig, the boys realize the stuff is as flat and bushed as they've become, and they can't even finish their glasses. Turteltaub makes space for these small, but satisfying moments of acceptance, gratitude, and joie de vivre in a comedy that's fleked with Viagra jokes and creaky replacement hips.

The humor, for its part, goes just far enough to make audiences giggle over broad jokes, silly gags, and lazy coincidences, but it's really the charm of a dynamite cast, including the luminous Mary Steenburgen- playing the witty single mom turned Sin City performer, Diana, who beguiles the boys with a little age-appropriate flirting- that makes the movie sing.

Last Vegas, which opens in theaters everywhere tomorrow, is a genial little comedy that delivers to the young, old, and everyone in-between.

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