Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Viagra and Metamucil can't get movie moving

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The grey wolf pack: from left, Kevin Kline, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Morgan Freeman.

CHUCK ZLOTNICK/CBS FILMS Enlarge Image

The grey wolf pack: from left, Kevin Kline, Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Morgan Freeman.

Last Vegas boasts a cast of four Oscar-winning actors, all at play in sunny, glamorous environs.

It's a movie with a life-affirming mission. It has moments of genuine levity.

If only it were a decent comedy.

But this is a movie of such monumental contrivance, you can almost visualize the script in front of your eyes as the lines are being performed. Indeed, you can anticipate many lines of dialogue and plot points before they occur.

In short, this is a film as organic as a silicone implant.

And there are a lot of those in this movie, too. It's Vegas, baby.

The premise offers up a bachelor party stocked with a quartet of impressive actors. Billy (Michael Douglas) is just shy of 70 and still unmarried. So, while performing the eulogy of his mentor, who died alone, he gets the idea of proposing right then and there to his 31-year-old girlfriend.

His planned Vegas wedding initiates the plan for a bachelor party with three boyhood chums. Archie (Morgan Freeman), recovered from a mild stroke, lives under the oppressive care of his son Ezra (Michael Ealy).

Paddy (Robert De Niro), not recovered from the loss of his wife a year earlier, still lives in a New York apartment filled with pictures of his beloved.

Sam (Kevin Kline), feeling suffocated in a community of his fellow seniors in Florida, is gifted by his mega-understanding wife (Joanna Gleason) with an envelope containing a Viagra pill, a condom and permission to cheat on her if it will mean he may get back some of his lost vigour.

But it's not all champagne and shrimp cocktails. Paddy nurses a serious grudge against Billy on an issue relating to his deceased wife. Archie is obliged to fool his son with the deception that he's attending a church retreat. And Billy becomes unsure about the whole wedding upon meeting a sultry and more age-appropriate lounge chanteuse (Mary Steenburgen), who inspires a contest between himself and Paddy, a replay of a romantic competition from decades ago in which Paddy had emerged the winner.

The script by Dan Fogelman is an utterly predictable thing, and one wishes there were some kind of creative Viagra that might have given director Jon Turteltaub a little more juice in shaping a substantial comedy from the flaccid premise.

It doesn't help that the pairing of Douglas and Steenburgen might have been better served an animated movie about waxworks in love.

That said, a couple of the actors do manage to put a little life in this thing. If you can see the resolution of Sam's plot thread a mile away, Kline still manages to invest his role with a little comic sophistication.

Freeman likewise charms, proving that even a fanny pack can't take the "cool" out of a cool cat.

As for De Niro, one can't help be further discouraged by his participation in yet another mediocre comedy. If he has to make a movie about an aging tough guy, let's have something where we can see him rage, like a raging bull, against the dying of the light.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 1, 2013 D6

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