Review: Last Vegas 

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** 1/2

The bad news concerning Last Vegas is that it contains a guest appearance by a Viagra pill. It seems that often when a comedy includes an elderly man about to engage in sex, there's gotta be some sequence in which he proudly whoops it up over his 12-hour-long hard-on.

Robert De Niro, Richard Dreyfuss and even the late Andy Griffith - Andy Griffith! - are among the actors who chose to humiliate themselves in this manner, all for the sake of a cheap laugh that failed to materialize.

The good news concerning Last Vegas is that the pill never leaves its pouch, as its owner, sex-seeking Sam (Kevin Kline), realizes that he can perform quite well without it, thankyouverymuch. Similar sentiments can be found throughout the movie, which looks at the exploits of four old guys without feeling the need to constantly make fun of the frailties that accompany their advanced ages. In short, don't expect to see a geriatric version of The Hangover - the film is better than that.

Of course, let's not oversell this thing, which often plays out in the predictable manner of most studio-stamped comedies. Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam were all close childhood pals, and while most have remained friendly to each other over the ensuing decades, a rift between Billy and Paddy has made it hard for the gang to reunite. But once Billy announces that he's set to be married to a much younger woman (Bre Blair), Archie and Sam decide to throw him a bachelor party in Las Vegas - and they trick Paddy into joining them in Sin City.

The material may be moldy at the core, but it gets a boost from the inclusion of several good gags on the part of writer Dan Fogelman as well as four game leads - especially Kline - who know how to sell them.

Yet even with the all-male marquee, it's Mary Steenburgen who earns the highest marks with her ingratiating turn as a lounge singer pursued by both Billy and Paddy. Steenburgen has made a career out of providing extra pizzazz in supporting roles, and with Last Vegas, she once again holds the winning hand.


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