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ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Viva Last Vegas!
by Betty Jo Tucker

Buckle up, movie fans, or you might fall out of your seats with laughter while watching Last Vegas, an entertaining comedy starring Morgan Freeman, Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline and Michael Douglas as four old pals who reunite in Vegas for a wedding. Too bad these actors have never worked together before. They play off each other brilliantly! Plus, Mary Steenburgen adds to the viewing pleasure with her charming portrayal of a spunky 60-year-old lounge singer who becomes the object of affection for two of the guys. What fun!          

In the interest of full disclosure, I admit to having a soft spot in my heart for Las Vegas. After all, itís the place where my ex-husband and I reunited after being divorced and estranged for almost 20 years. Thatís partly why I enjoy films set in Vegas so much. I also love the energy and excitement that practically jumps off the screen in such movies as Vegas Vacation, What Happens in Vegas, and Honeymoon in Vegas. So Iím pleased Last Vegas didnít let me down. In fact, this film brings Sin City up-to-date for viewers like me who havenít been there recently. For example, the movie showcases new places like the dance clubs that have become so popular in Vegas. But I digress.

Back to our quartet of old friends. Billy (Douglas) wants all three of his pals to join him in Vegas for his wedding. Heís the last of the four to marry -- and itís a big deal for him, especially since the bride is so much younger than him. A phone call to Archie (Freeman) and Sam (Kline) persuades them to agree. But because of a long-ago falling out between Billy and Paddy (De Niro), it takes pressure from Archie and Sam plus a bit of mendacity to bring Paddy on board.  Of course, each one of these characters must first overcome certain obstacles before heading to Vegas. Archie has to deal with his over-protective son (Michael Ealy), who treats him like an invalid because of his recent stroke. Sam is worried about leaving his wife (Joanna Gleason, perfect as the most understanding spouse ever) alone. And Paddy has lost all zest for life since the death of his beloved wife.

After the guys arrive in Vegas, itís not long before exciting things start happening to them Ė like getting set up in a gorgeous hotel suite, being involved in a case of mistaken identity, judging a bikini contest, and meeting Diana (Steenburgen) who opens up old wounds between Billy and Paddy. For me, there was not one dull minute in this entire Vegas adventure! Surprisingly, the movie is also quite touching in the way it shows changes taking place in each characterís personality and how it deals with friendship and love.  

Highlights include: Freeman looking so cool while dancing up a storm; the lovely Steenburgen singing her heart out in a lounge thatís practically empty most nights; Kline forming a connection with a fascinating cross-dresser (Peter Bart); and a bachelor party extravaganza with so much going on you donít know where to look. Thanks to director Jon Turtletaub (National Treasure: Book of Secrets), the film moves along briskly and to writer Don Fogelman (Tangled) for an amusing screenplay that challenges those dreadful  ďsenior citizenĒ stereotypes.

Itís one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friendship is the hardest thing in the world to explain. Itís not something you learn in school. But if you havenít learned the meaning of friendship, you really havenít learned anything. -- Muhammad Ali

(Released by CBS Films and rated ďPG-13Ē on appeal for sexual content and language.)

For more information about Last Vegas, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.


                                                                                                                                                                               
 
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