Med City Movie Guy: Old jokes, but no stale laughs in 'Last Vegas'

Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, and Michael Douglas party like it's 1959 in "Last Vegas."

281. That's the combined age of the leads in the new comedy "Last Vegas."

281. That's seven Dakota Fannings, nine Jaden Smiths and enough years left over for a bottle of Glenlivet.

281. It's how old George Washington would be if he were alive today.

You get the idea. These movie veterans — Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline — have lots of years, films and accolades between them.

So how did they land in this silly but crowd-pleasing Las Vegas comedy?


I think the bikini contest may have something to do with it.

Once the most raucous and closest of boyhood friends, the Flatbush 4 — three of them anyway — now find themselves resigned to their twilight years. De Niro, a lonely and demoralized widower; Freeman, babied and living with his son; Kline in a tepid marriage. Only Douglas refuses to grow up. He just popped the question to a girl a third his age — a preposterous pairing that Freeman sums up, "I have a hemorrhoid older than her."

But, hey, it's an excuse for the gang to get back together for the first time in years. And in Las Vegas, of all places. These Grandpas Gone Wild are gonna party like it's 1959!

That is, if unhappy pappy De Niro can move past an unresolved issue with Douglas that stems from their love of the same girl. And he might, if Mary Steenburgen doesn't drive the wedge further between them.

If you don't mind cliche geriatric humor that relies on clusters of prescription bottles, incontinence and fanny packs, this one is a high-energy, laugh-out-loud riot. Many of the more senior moviegoers at my screening laughed consistently; one's outburst was even followed by what sounded like dentures bouncing on the floor.

Some poignancy but mostly laughs and even the obvious or stale gags are well-executed.

Like Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in "Grumpy Old Men," or Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas in "Tough Guys," the real draw here is the cast, each an Oscar-winner with a remarkable body of work, kicking back, having fun and taking us along for the ride.

I only wish De Niro would have spoofed his famous "you talkin' to me?" line from "Taxi Driver," adding, "no, seriously, this Miracle-Ear battery … I can't hear a damn thing!"


4 Honks

Chris Miksanek is a Rochester freelance writer. Follow him on the Center Stage blog at .

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas (unless they got it on film, then it stays on YouTube).

Let’s be honest, filming in Las Vegas is like phoning it in, but even cheap and obvious laughs can be fun. Here’re a few examples.

"Vegas Vacation"(1997). Sure, it’s a franchise that exceeded its shelf life, but I always get a chuckle out of Rusty’s Nick Pappagiorgio transformation under the tutelage of Jerry Weintraub.

"The Hangover" (2009). A wild comedy that is as offensive as it is funny and original; and Mike Tyson channeling Phil Collins? Exquisite!

"Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery"(1997). Only partially shot where no one behaves, it’s a spy send-up that’s groovy on many levels. This sort of thing is my bag, Baby!


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