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"Last Vegas": The Viagrafication of American Comedy 

Wednesday, Oct 30 2013
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Jon Turteltaub's Last Vegas is the kind of harmless, crowd-pleasing confection that has long been Turteltaub's stock in trade. There are no surprises or dark twists in this story of lifelong friends Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman), Sam (Kevin Kline), and Billy (Michael Douglas) gathering in Vegas for the wedding of wealthy playboy Billy to a much younger woman. Enter the far more age-appropriate lounge-singer Diana (Mary Steenburgen); will she help Billy see the light, and will the four friends work out their decades-old resentments? Everything unfolds as you'd expect, less The Hangover IV: The Wolf Pack Joins AARP and more City Slickers III: Vegas Vacation. Though the cast is not lacking in charisma, genuine comedy actor Kline unsurprisingly gets most of the laughs, and the radiant Steenburgen also owns every scene she's in. To its credit, Last Vegas doesn't treat the idea of older people still having sex drives as a gross-out joke the way mainstream comedies are wont to (though Turteltaub seems to linger on nubile young flesh, as if to compensate), and even the sadly inevitable "That woman's really a man!" joke introduces an actual character, with a backstory and mini-arc. Last Vegas is not groundbreaking, but it's not as lazy as it might have been, either.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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