LAST VEGAS Blu-ray Review

     February 4, 2014


Last Vegas is the sort of film that lets you know what it is just by the premise and cast.  Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline star in the film, and all are talented performers, but does anyone really want to see them in a PG-13 version of The Hangover? My review of Last Vegas on Blu-ray follows after the jump.

last-vegas-blu-ray-box-cover-artBilly (Douglas), Paddy (De Niro), Archie (Freeman) and Sam (Kline) grew up together in Brooklyn, and the four have remained friends over the years… at least until Billy didn’t show up for Paddy’s wife’s funeral.  But now Billy is about to be married for the first time (to a woman half his age), and he wants the gang back together for one last hurrah in Vegas.

Archie lives with his son (Michael Ealy) and is micro-managed, while Sam’s wife gives him a Viagra for the trip, and tells him that he’s gotten a little bored so maybe he needs to have an extra-marital experience.  Paddy’s turned into a grumpy widower who rarely leaves the house and has a big beef with Billy, while Billy is obviously pretending to not get older.  Guess what? They all confront these issues when they show up in Vegas, to which Paddy is suckered into coming.  They first go to a hotel that is only a casino now, but there they run into Diana (Mary Steenburgen), to which both Billy and Paddy have obvious chemistry.  They take her with them as they look for a place to stay, while Archie plans to gamble fifteen grand.  Sam looks around for a possible conquest, but runs into a drag queen (Roger Bart), and while the boys are away Archie is able to turn his fifteen into over a hundred grand.  The casino wants it back so they offer the gang a huge room.  Problem solved!

From there the problems get even easier to solve.  A concierge who thinks they’re lame old dudes eventually sees them as cool, Paddy needles Billy that he’s not really in love and maybe should go after Diana, Sam fumbles with women until he realizes that he loves his wife, Archie’s son comes to Vegas to confront his father, and a jerk patron (Jerry Ferrara) comes to see the error of his ways.  If this sounds like spoiler territory, all of these arcs are pretty much predetermined immediately.

last-vegas-michael-douglas-morgan-freeman-robert-de-niro-kevin-klineThere’s something sort of junk food pleasurable about the movie for a while, and these performers are charming, but the formulaic nature of the narrative ultimately gets in the way of anyone getting a real chance to play.  Every scene and event leads into some larger point, and normally that’s a good thing, but when you know where that’s going, it feels uninspired, especially when you have four Oscar winners doing this nonsense.  It’s at the corners and edges where the film comes most alive, and it’s great to see someone like Kevin Kline (who should be in more movies) having fun, and he can make an awkward seduction scene into something interesting, but even there he can only do so much.

At the same time, this movie was always going to be this movie, and it seems destined to be something people watch with older parents when they want something that’s funny but inoffensive.  There’s not much to it.

Sony’s Blu-ray of this CBS film comes in widescreen (2.35:1) and in DTS-HD master audio.  The transfer is immaculate, as to be expected, and the Blu-ray comes with a DVD and digital copy.  The movie is accompanied by an audio commentary by director Jon Turteltaub and screenwriter Dan Fogelman, and the duo actually do a pretty good job talking about choices made during the making, and the process of creating the film.  The disc also comes with six featurettes “It’s Going to Be Legendary” (3 min.), “Shooting in Sin City” (3 min.), “Four Legends” (3 min.) “The Redfoo Party” (2 min.), “The Flatbush Four” (2 min.) and “Supporting Ensemble” (2 min.), and as you can tell by their length these are fluffy, likely done before the film was released.  The positive is that it offers all the main actors talking about the film, the negative is that’s there’s a number of repeated clips over the course of the six pieces.

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