This gently amusing rather than ground-breaking gambling/road trip/buddy movie continues the recent but noble tradition of old-guy comedies, started (arguably) by The Bucket List. Indeed, half the stars of that film – i.e. Morgan Freeman – reappear in this one, though it would have been a very foolish casting director indeed who had decided not to put him in it.
There are some nods to the real lives of the stars. Michael Douglas refers to his young wife-to-be, at which point the audience will think of Catherine Zeta-Jones and smiles wryly. Freeman and Douglas are joined on the trip by Robert De Niro, who, since Meet The Parents and Meet The Fockers has become perhaps the king of Hollywood’s Grumpy Old Men. Completing the foursome is the amazing Kevin Kline (can he really be 64 years old…) who can do warm-hearted movies like this with all the apparent ease that he reels off Shakespeare on stage.
Viva Las Vegas
Director Jon Turteltaub handles the movie with a certain amount of grace, allowing hints of his Disney career to shine through in some scenes, while essentially giving us five stars of the show; the four main actors and Las Vegas itself (always a star when it’s the setting for a film). Just as, after watching a Bond movie on the big screen, most people come out of the cinema wanting to be a spy, many come out of a Vegas movie wanting to be there – or at least enjoy a flutter. Those who don’t happen to be within a couple of hour’s drive of Nevada could try an online casino such as Royal Vegas Australia.
The plot centres around four aging friends; Douglas’s Billy, De Niro’s Paddy, Freeman’s Archie and Kline’s Sam. Billy – up until now devoted to singledom – decides to get married to his much younger girlfriend, and the pals decide on a youth-rekindling bachelor party in Vegas. “I can’t drink, smoke, eat salt or stay up past 9pm”, points out Archie, but senior issues like that aren’t going to stop them.
It’s not a kid’s movie – in fact it originally received an R rating for “brief sexual content”, though this has since been downgraded to PG-13. People of a more mature vintage, at least those who had a spark of devilment in them in their younger days, will enjoy the chutzpah with which the old pals take on the city, as well as the ways in which their friendship is tested and passes those tests.