Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Cinema File #301: "Last Vegas" Review


I suppose writing a review of Last Vegas so long after it has left first run theaters is about as pointless as going to see the movie now that its in the dollar theaters, but since I saw it and can't unsee it, now you have to hear about it. Or switch to a different web page, which would probably be just as good. Last Vegas is to 2013 what that Billy Crystal Bette Midler movie Parental Guidance was to 2012, pleasantly inoffensive, relatively nostalgic given its cast of popular mainstays, and mostly forgettable without ever quite reaching the level of anything one might call "good." There's nothing particularly objectionable about it, and unlike some other supposedly better movies that came out last year, it has the notable advantage of only being 90 minutes long, so after watching it, I could go about my day and do other things I like to do, like writing reviews about movies you don't care about.


Last Vegas is the story of four geriatric life long friends reuniting for the bachelor party preceding the May December marriage of their wealthiest and horniest member. Though the title might ominously imply that the participants of this crazy weekend getaway will all die before the end, the actual movie is mostly good clean wholesome fun without much in the way of stakes or complications, the biggest being a romantic rivalry that splits two of them apart. For the most part, Last Vegas strives to be as comfortable and unassuming as possible, never risking anything too interesting or entertaining and thus never stumbling into anything too awkward, convoluted, or misguided. In a way it feels like the kind of movie The Hangover Three should have been, in that I laughed at least twice, and never wanted to kill myself while watching it.


If you like any of this quartet in comedic roles, (and with the exception of DeNiro how could you not?) than you'll probably be generally satisfied with the results of their collaboration, even if the confluence of all that talent could have been used to much greater effect if it were attached to a project worth giving a shit about. They all have their own individual arcs that pay off nicely, which sounds like the bare minimum for a narrative, every character being important and having their moment, until you realize how many movies fail to do this. Its predictable, certainly, but then I can't imagine anyone would go into a movie like this expecting to be surprised by any of it. For what its worth, its the kind of movie you can bring your mom to, which also sounds like damning with faint praise, until you remember that The Guilt Trip was also a thing.


Whether or not you should extend the effort to see Last Vegas either now as it clings to the last theatrical showcase before DVD, or a short time from now when it actually comes to DVD, really depends on how bereft you are of quality entertainment in your life and how low your standards are. There are obviously many better movies from 2013 to watch, many still in theaters or on VOD and home release, but there are also many far worse options, and if you're too lazy or busy to sift through the morass of everything last year had to offer, Last Vegas is a safe middle of the road choice that's sure to not disappoint, just as its sure not to impress. At the risk of running out of ways to say it was bland but not terrible, I'm just going to go ahead and say it was bland, but you know, not really all that terrible. Also, defunct party spokesband LMFAO is in it, which adds nothing and doesn't really even bare mentioning, except that it fills out a paragraph.
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