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Review: 'Last Vegas' is 'Hangover' with heart — and old guys

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‘Last Vegas'

★★1⁄2 (out of 4)

PG-13

Wide release

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Roger Moore
Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, 8:55 p.m.
 

Paddy is a widower who spends his lonely days watching TV in his bathrobe.

Sam can barely summon the energy to wisecrack about the aged wrecks who share the pool in his jazzercise for seniors class.

Archie has a post-stroke regimen of pills and a son who nags him to take it easy “at your age.”

And Billy wears the decades of too-much California tanning and the stress of keeping up with a fiancee half his age.

Yeah, you'll want to party with these guys. Especially after you learn that they're played by Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman and Michael Douglas, respectively. Especially after you learn that they're about to cut loose at a bachelor party.

“Last Vegas” is an on-the-nose, on-the-money “Grumpy Old Men with Hangovers” set in Sin City. It's a comedy that, thanks to its Oscar-studded cast, leans more toward the sentimental than the sinful. Now pushing 70, they're reunited when Malibu Billy (Douglas) finally ties the knot.

Each has a hurdle to clear before making the trek to their bachelor gathering. Sam's wife (Joanna Gleason) gifts him a condom and suggests he (Kline) get busy, just to get his game back. Archie (Freeman) has to dodge his son (Michael Ealy) and sneak out. And Archie and Sam both have to trick Paddy (De Niro), who bears some ancient grudge against Billy.

They do what people do in Vegas — play blackjack, do a little dance, fall in love with a lounge singer (Mary Steenburgen), crack jokes.

Oh, and get down tonight.

Freeman sings a little and dances a little. An ornery De Niro cracks wise and scowls. Kline riffs and Douglas plays the straight man with a wistful (yeah, he knows the bride's too young) charm.

And Steenburgen positively beams. After years of playing moms and straight-laced wives, she croons a few standards in the Vegas vein and holds her own with the big boys.

Director Jon Turteltaub (“National Treasure”) captures the garish, cleavage-friendly setting, sets up the senior-citizen sight gags with skill and mostly just lets his high-mileage cast score laughs and pass along tidbits of wisdom to assorted sinning youngsters. “Last Vegas” is comical comfort food, with actors doing the sorts of things they've done for decades. But even if this is the safest Vegas romp of them all, this cast never lets us forget that we're in very good hands.

Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.

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