[img]http://www.dvdsreleasedates.com/covers/last-vegas-dvd-cover-69.jpg[/img]Releasing/Participating Studio(s): Sony Pictures
Disc/Transfer Information: Region 1; Anamorphic Widescreen 2.40:1
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Tested Audio Track: English Dolby Digital 5.1
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Starring Cast: Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Kline, Mary Steenburgen, Jerry Ferrara, Romany Malco
IT’S GOING TO BE LEGENDARY.
I don’t know exactly what Jon “National Treasure” Turteltaub was going for here but it almost seemed as if he was attempting to reinvent some magic from the old “Rat Pack” that was such a dominant force on the Las Vegas entertainment circuit – yet tweaked for a modern day, minidress-wearing, super-promiscuous crowd. From the moment I saw the trailer for Last Vegas, with its stupid title and willingness to rely on the ever-dwindling talents of De Niro, Douglas, Freeman et al, I knew it was going to be little more than a vivid, eye-popping ad for the new Vegas: A showcase for what walks on the famed Strip today, which is to say barely-dressed 20-somethings in sky-high stilettos in the middle of the afternoon leaving nothing for the imagination and barely being able to walk on their Jimmy Choo heels after a night out in the clubs. And you know something? I was right. From start to finish, this is merely eye candy for those not indoctrinated in what the current Las Vegas has to offer; suffice to say, this is no longer a town for the heartland American family (which it once was in the early-to-mid-90s after the town shed its dark persona for something a bit more child-friendly) and has become a place where uber-rich young California money comes to blow it all in a frenzy of drugs, alcohol, “professional ladies of the night” and overall mayhem. In the background is a story about a group of older friends who get together for a bachelor party – in the ultimate town for this nonsense – and who end up partying like the young folk while resolving some past grievances amongst them.
Turteltaub spins a tale concentrating on Billy (Michael Douglas, sporting an overtly fake and awful-looking tan in this and to whom the cancer treatments he just went through were not kind), Paddy (Rob De Niro, who seemed so “off” in this as the old man palling around with these other guys after we saw him run Vegas in Scorsese’s Casino when he played casino mogul Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, actually named Sam “Ace” Rothstein in the film), Archie (Morgan Freeman, who, thank the Lord, doesn’t sport those awful dentures he wore in Olympus Has Fallen) and Sam (Kevin Kline) – the film opens with the group as young kids growing up in the New York borough of Brooklyn, where they call themselves the “Flatbush Four” (funny; my own father owned and ran a furniture business on Flatbush Avenue in that section of Brooklyn), getting into general trouble and acting like jackasses in the local malt shop. Years later, in their golden era, the boys have found different lives; Paddy is a widower still living in Brooklyn but spending his days in bathrobes and slippers, fending off advances from his young neighbor who wants to constantly cook him meals and set him up with her grandmother while Archie is so frail and sick from enduring a stroke his son needs to look over him as he rests in bed and takes his myriad of pills. Sam, meanwhile, is the only one “officially” married to someone, living in Florida and doing the retiree thing down there and Billy appears to be the “wild, young-at-heart” one of the bunch, living it up in L.A. in a nice home with plans to marry a smokin’ hot gal more than half his age. When he calls the boys to tell them about his wedding plans, Archie and Sam decide to throw him a bachelor party in Vegas because that’s where he’s actually getting hitched. They attempt to invite Paddy, but he’s still sour over the loss of his wife and remains down in the dumps.
Things begin to get a bit funny when Sam and Archie prepare to fly together to New York to get Paddy to go to the bachelor party in person, as Sam’s wife provides him with a condom and a Viagra as a “present” he can use while he’s there, knowing what kind of town Vegas is. Archie, meanwhile, must lie to his son about leaving the house and going to a bachelor party and he slips out of his bed leaving a note that he’s gone on a “church retreat.” Once at Paddy’s in New York, the boys convince the complaining old man to come along to Vegas for Billy’s party and wedding.
Filmed mostly on location, Last Vegas then shifts its action to the glittering city of lights, when the boys all arrive at McCarran International Airport and greet each other for the first time in a long time. Arguing about sleep habits, pills to take and other senior citizen concerns, the Flatbush Four make their way to Binion’s downtown, but find the hotel section has been closed for year-long renovations. Before they leave to check into the Aria resort, where Billy’s wedding is taking place, they stumble into a little lounge in the Binion’s casino and are taken aback by singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen) with her raspy, fetching voice and good (for her age) looks. The boys invite her to a table for drinks where they get to know her and inform her they’re there for Billy’s bachelor party; it isn’t long before we pick up on the fact that both Billy and Paddy are attracted to the lady and that Billy himself may be figuring out the 30-something he’s about to marry in a couple of days really isn’t the right match for him.
Upon checking into Aria, the boys, with Diana in tow, are invited to stay in one of the resort’s mega-suites and are assigned Lonnie (the always-funny Romany Malco) as their host for the weekend. From there, Last Vegas becomes typical, redundant “Vegas-in-the-movies eye candy” as the boys gawk at girls old enough to be their great granddaughters, get into a nightclub in which they drink modern day concoctions and mingle with stunningly beautiful women while fending off young jerks trying to hit on the girls, etc etc…you know the drill here. Ridiculously clichéd and a scenario that would never happen in a million years in real life. The action builds towards the big setpiece of the film which is, of course, Billy’s bachelor party being thrown in the boys’ multi-level suite at the Aria – but in between we get themes of Billy falling for Diana, an unresolved issue between Paddy and Billy from years ago involving Paddy’s now deceased wife and the question of whether or not Billy should go ahead with his wedding. There are also some ridiculous sequences such as the boys being invited to host a bikini contest at the Aria’s pool as soon as they check in to the resort – how this happened we’ll never know – in addition to a quick appearance by none other than Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, who shows up at Billy’s bachelor party because of the noise and due to the fact that the boys’ suite was supposed to be his; the sequence in which Fifty shows up at the door and Malco shuts it on him when he wants to come in was pretty funny.
In my attempt to trim my reviews down so as not to divulge too much plot, that’s all I’ll say at this point about Last Vegas; I understand what they were going for here – that some old fogies can still party when the Lipitor runs out or their oxygen tanks run low – but it comes off as that typical Vegas-oriented shtick we’ve seen so many times in films like The Hangover and What Happens in Vegas… with scantily-clad females grinding against one another in nightclubs and even on sidewalks on the Strip, that suggestion that anything goes and inhibition is lost, all men – young and old – twisting their necks to gander at the ridiculously gorgeous women in this town as they walk by…it’s just so clichéd and tired already. We get it. It’s Vegas and no one in the entire world – save for perhaps Hollywood – looks like the people here. If perfection was a town and a concept that could actually be realized, this would be it. But I’m tired of looking at it already because 99.9-percent of us don’t look like movie stars or drive Bentleys nor do we have the world’s most glamorous women stepping out of our cars at the valet stand when we pull up.
That being said, the film does cough up a few laughs and I suppose it’s a decent rental if nothing else is available. This wasn’t a buy for me, if you couldn’t already tell. And they gotta give some these aging actors the pass already…I mean, Douglas looks awful but even more so are Freeman and De Niro who really look like poster children for a senior citizen community. Kevin Kline, without his white beard-ish thing he had going on, looked the healthiest of this bunch of croons but regardless these guys are just old already and need to hang it up. And directors need to stop forcing the filmgoing public to believe men like this can pull miniskirted supermodel-like babes just by looking at them a certain way – I mean, come on…the guys are wearing fanny packs and pocket protectors for crying out loud.
VIDEO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC LOOK?
I received Sony’s standard DVD edition of Last Vegas to review and it was a pleasure – rich, vivid colors fused with noiseless visuals that made looking at this 2.40:1 transfer a real treat. This almost approached high def territory, with its bold primaries, rich and saturated hues that really brought out the warmth of the Vegas desert landscape, twitch-free elements and stable presentation. The green of foliage was bright and searing, the skintones were spot-on (even Douglas’ horrendous-looking tan), the indoor visuals of the Vegas resorts were accurately rendered and the shadow detail didn’t bleed into crush territory.
Without having the Blu-ray to compare it to, I gave the DVD edition of this film two thumbs up in terms of video quality.
[img] http://www.reviewjournal.com/sites/default/files/field/media/web1_last-vegas-2_4.jpg[/img]AUDIO QUALITY ANALYSIS: HOW DID THE DISC SOUND?
The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track here was pretty unremarkable; dialogue needed to be cranked up to be heard and the track was on the overall low side of the mastering table. When the multitude of club music pounded from the mix, whether it was when the boys were in Aria’s nightclub or when they were judging the bikini contest poolside, the track came alive with some thudding bass and nice dynamics…still, the master level was disappointingly low. While some material crept into the surrounds for ambient fill or scene directionality, the majority of this track remained up front and locked to the center and main channels.
I really didn’t expect more from the title audio-wise to be honest.
I did not check out any of the extra supplements on the disc, my apologies; I’m sure if anything it was more along the lines of these nee-legendary actors patting themselves on the back for the work they’ve done in the past and how “great” it is to work with one another…no doubt there would be mentions about all the skin and eye candy that was on display during the filming of Last Vegas which undoubtedly kept these old men reaching for either their pacemaker controls or their blood pressure pills.
At any rate, thank you, as always, for taking the time to read and please discuss Last Vegas if you've seen it or even if you haven't; I will answer any questions you may have about the disc presentation, plot, actors, etc.!