Last Vegas

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I found this 2013 DVD at the Woodlands Regional Library after the book club meet last week. Four legends together in what I presumed is a comedy? And I don’t recall this movie being shown at a cinema here.

Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) have been best friends since they were 6 years old. By the time they were in their early teens, they were well-known in the neighbourhood as the tight-knit “Flatbush Four”. (These four characters are established as amazing kids in the front titles and this gives an idea of who they are when they’re older.)

58 years later, Sam lives in Naples, Florida, Archie in Anglewood, New Jersey, Paddy in Brooklyn, New York and Billy in Malibu, California.

Billy never bothered to get married but finally proposes to his 31-year-old girlfriend Lisa (Bre Blair) at his mentor’s funeral, and when he announces this to his friends, the four of them decide to head for Las Vegas for a Bachelor’s Party with a plan to stop acting their age and relive their glory days.

Archie has had a stroke so his son has become overbearing, and this chance at an adventure is just a wonderful thing to do, so he goes. He takes along half his pension ($15,000) and places it all on blackjack.  It is comedic to see how he turns that amount into $102,000 and the special “VIP” treament the four of them receive from the hotel management.

Sam is happily married but bored with his retirement, so  he needs some rejuvenation. His wife gives him an envelope at the airport with a card that says “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” to which is attached a Viagra pill and a condom. Expect a lof of laughs…

Paddy’s wife Sophie has just passed away. Hw won’t leave his apartment, and at first would not go to Vegas because he is angry that Billy did not show up for her funeral when Billy was supposed to deliver the eulogy and Paddy ended up babbbling and embarrasing himself. There is a story within the story here about the relationship between Paddy, Sophie and Billy that goes back 50 years …

At a jazz club in Vegas, they meet jazz singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen) and her band (drummer, bassist and pianist). One song that she sings on two days is Only You (by Buck Ram), one of my all-time favourites. (Steenburgen has vocal coaches to prepare her for her singing role.)

Other songs (and there are more than 30 of them) include Little Pretty Pretty Girl (Robert Byrd), Earth Angel (performed by the Penguins), You Are My Sunshine (Jimmie Davis), Cats in The Cradle (Harry Chapin), Cup Of Trouble (written by Mary Steenburger and two others) and You’re nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You (James Cavanaugh).

Besides being a well-developed comedy, this is a story about friendship. These four characters are real, their troubles are real, their pains are real and they really care about each other despite their problems, virtues and flaws. They are older but they are the same group, and nobody cheats them. So Billy does not marry Lisa in the end, but…

Before they each leave for home, they promise to meet again and go to places like Disney World, the Poconos, Myrtle Beach, Atlantic City, going on the Orient Express  and Kayaking in Norway, even visitng France, Europe and Germany.

I hope there’ll be a sequel to this movie…

 

 

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