Film Review: Last Vegas

Posted in Film, Reviews
By David Heaver on 30 Dec 2013

My screening of Last Vegas was at the Odeon West End in London. Since my first trip there, I’ve always wondered why their ‘Premier’ seats are so laid back compared to normal cinema seats. Well after months of wondering, Last Vegas finally gave me the solution – they’re absolutely perfect for taking a nap through films so tedious and mind-numbingly dull as this one.

Last Vegas tells the story of four friends who rekindle their youth on a bachelor party in Las Vegas, and the last of their group getting marriage. From that point we discover an unconvincing grudge between Paddy (De Niro) and Billy (Douglas), numerous problems between Archie (Freeman), Sam (Kline) and their respective families, and the list goes on. In honesty, to explain the plot of this film any further would be an insult to your intelligence. Expecting anyone to pay money to see this film is equally insulting – our press screening was and I still feel cheated.

Last Vegas sums up a lot of what is wrong with the movie industry, the once great ensemble cast are simply bumbling their way to a paycheque while the production company didn’t put any imagination into making the freature.

From the start, every single plot point and twist feels to telegraphed and contrived I could have napped through the whole film and have written a perfect synopsis come the credits. While the ‘TV-movie’ sensibilities mean that every scene is accompanied by overly intrusive mood setting music:

‘Look how young and cool they are with this funky groove soundtrack!’

‘Quick someone’s doing something vaguely resembling an emotional epiphany, throw the string section at the screen!’

All of this could actually be forgiven if the film was at all well-acted or honest and heartfelt in its story, but Last Vegas is none of these things. I found it genuinely depressing to see actors for whom I have great admiration phoning in such lacklustre performances. Sure, a lot of the problems come down to the script and the direction, but these actors knew exactly what they were signing up for.

I’m certain there will be worse films released this year, maybe even this week, but this is just so bland and painful to watch that it actually angers me more than a terrible film which at least tries to say or do something vaguely interesting, even if it fails. In contrast, Last Vegas generally plays for cheap laughs and consistently opts for the obvious and easy setups. The film is also occasionally unpleasant and demeaning in certain ways which I’d have expected it to be completely opposed to. What I mean by this is that I’d have thought that they would be eager to avoid being ‘The Hangover for OAPs’ but instead, they seem to opt for similarly demeaning and unpleasant jokes on occasion while also attempting to retain a ‘classy’ overtone – an attempt which they fail in as far as I’m concerned.

I will concede that there were 3 scenes which pulled something between a chortle and a guffaw from me, but by the time they came along, my face had set into such a stony grimace that smiling genuinely hurt. In honesty, the audience around me seemed to be enjoying the film more than I was, but I will give them the benefit of the doubt and blame that on a combination of free tickets and free wine.

I implore you, do not pay to see this film – it would only encourage them to make more. Do not download this film – it would be a terrible waste of your bandwidth. Do not even watch this if you see it on TV one day – 90 minutes of your life is far too high of a price to pay.

If you really do have to go and  see this at the cinema, please take heed of the anti-piracy notice – to record this movie with the intention of showing it to another human being would be a crime in so many ways.


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