One can easily imagine the pitch that led to Last Vegas
: “It’s The Hangover
for the retired set!” John Turtletaub’s film thrusts four 60-something besties (Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline) into Sin City for a bachelor party/last hurrah in hopes hilarity will ensue. If that premise sounds familiar, so are the ensuing shenanigans: fanny packs, bikini contests, Viagra jokes, unearned nostalgia and shopworn musings on aging. Though intermittently funny and not entirely without their charms, Turteltaub’s half-hearted attempts to create a new Rat Pack mostly fall flat. The familiarity of the gags works against the movie rather than for it, and no one onscreen seems to be having an especially good time, a feeling likely to be shared by the audience. So much screen time is devoted to defusing the longstanding tension between Douglas’ and De Niro’s characters—they liked the same girl; De Niro married her and Douglas didn’t show up at her funeral—that their would-be romp is ultimately something of a downer. Which would be fine if the film’s thoughts on friendship and mortality were especially poignant, but they’re as hackneyed as the jokes about boners, transvestites and 50 Cent, who at one point is mistaken for a member of the Jackson 5.