Oscar winners make Viagra jokes in ‘Last Vegas’

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Four acting greats take a time-out in “Last Vegas” for some much-needed scotch. Credit: Chuck Zlotnick

‘Last Vegas’
Director: Jon Turteltaub
Stars: Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro
Rating: PG-13
2 (out of 5) Globes

The four stars of “Last Vegas” — Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline — have little left to prove, except that they can do a super-light, not very imaginative comedy that is fathoms beneath their talents. The quartet play lifelong friends who used to run around Flatbush Avenue. When Douglas’ Billy announces he’s to wed a hottie a third his age, the three friends come along — one of them, De Niro’s Paddy, reluctantly, since Billy used to have a thing for his recently passed wife.

What follows is four Oscar winners trotting out nonstop Viagra jokes while earning a well-deserved paid vacation, albeit to the second worst place in the Western world after Times Square. Aging legends making dirty old man movies isn’t anything new; Douglas’ own father, Kirk, once made the wretched “Diamonds,” where he drags his son and grandson to a brothel run by Lauren Bacall.

“Last Vegas” never once approaches those depths, thanks in part to the loose and lived-in camaraderie between the leads — all the more impressive since, amazingly, none have ever worked together. Like “Hope Springs,” wherein Meryl Streep tortures Tommy Lee Jones (both character and actor) with old-person sex therapy, “Last Vegas” is crap as comedy but surprisingly, covertly trenchant as a look at the unflattering, under-discussed aspects of getting old.

Everyone is clearly having the time of their life, but like watching somebody else’s vacation footage, the thrill is only somewhat passed on to the audience. There’s one more Oscar winner here: Mary Steenburgen, playing a lounge singer who launches a new rivalry between Billy and Paddy. Effervescent as ever, she plays a woman who only came around to music late in life, when she wanted to try something new. (Steenburgen has done the same thing in real life.) No one particularly needs to try hard here, but it’s little surprise Steenburgen’s actual work steals the show.


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