The premise of Last Vegas brings the idea of four life long friends coming together again for a big hoo-rah after nearly 60 years. This kind of formula has been seen before and since the release of this movie. However, it still works. It works, due in part, to the acting talents of Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline. That’s not to say the film isn’t flawed, but the flaws are minor and are somewhat lost through the fun overall story.
The film generally has a nice story of friendship and forgiveness, mixed with a love triangle (twice). The film begins with four young boys who seem to do a lot together. They protect each other. They have fun together. Flash forward to nearly 60 years later and we find the four are living their lives, but they still have a yearning to have some fun. It starts with Billy (Douglas) who is dating a much younger girl and suddenly proposes to her. So what does he do? He calls his childhood buddies to the wedding in Las Vegas. We then see Archie (Freeman), after suffering a minor stroke, living with his son (who treats his father as a child, becoming very protective). Sam (Kline) is married, but still misses his youthful times. Archie and Sam, on their way to the airport, decide to stop by and pick up Paddy (De Niro). Here we learn Paddy and Billy have had a falling out. Paddy reluctantly agrees and the three head off to Vegas.
Upon arrival, they meet up with Billy and get to the hotel only to find the hotel is still being renovated as they squabble over who was supposed to make the reservation. They go to the casino, to the bar, to the pool and manage to obtain a room for the rest of the weekend until the wedding. While there, they meet a beautiful lounge singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen) who Paddy seems to instantly fall for, and Billy is not far behind. This brings up a similar love triangle from their childhood where they both liked the same girl. This ultimately resulted in their riff between each other. This plays out, though, through comedy and a touching gesture that turns their friendship around.
Jon Turteltaub directed the film written by Dan Fogelman who created likeable characters and an enjoyable story with humor, love, and sentiment. The film ran for 1 hour 45 minutes, which seemed a tad long to tell the story, but the story was good and the pace seemed to flow. However, one problem of the film’s story was when the guys meet Dean (Jerry Ferrara), a seemingly obnoxious 20-something and that whole line in the story just didn’t seem to satisfactorily play out. There were a couple of decent moments with the character, but it just didn’t seem to fit in as well with the rest of the film.
De Niro, Freeman, Douglas, and Kline all turned in fine performances, as did the supporting cast. It wasn’t stellar. But it didn’t have to be. It was a very enjoyable film. And now it seems there is a sequel in the works with an unknown release date. Time will tell if it will be as enjoyable and satisfying as this first go around.