Last Vegas

Last Vegas (12A)

The unkindest comment on Last Vegas is that it is entirely predictable. It is also impossible to dislike given its star-packed quartet – Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Morgan Freeman and Kevin Kline – and the backdrop of Nevada, slot machines, revolving beds and showgirls.

The premise is as ancient as the stars at its core. Four old pals reunite for a last hurrah to celebrate their age-defying friend’s forthcoming marriage to a much younger woman.

The groom is Billy (Douglas), all leathery tan and too-white teeth. His crumbling buddies are Archie (Freeman), Sam (Kline) and widower Paddy (De Niro), the latter a reluctant participant who harbours resentful feelings towards Billy for a long-held snub.

Beating off age, shrugging off mortality and reconnecting with their youth they head to sin city for adventure. Cue calcified gags about discos, hangovers, infirmity, ill-advised attire, performance enhancing pills and the perils of seeking freedom where it is not needed.

De Niro and Co slip into their stereotypes with ease. Not one of them is asked to step outside the box and thus we recognise them instantly. De Niro is the grieving old grump. Freeman the near invalid wrapped in cotton wool by careful kids. Kline feels he’s missed out on mischief and seeks sexual emancipation from old age. Douglas is chasing his lost youth.

But one can imagine the pitch: take four Hollywood icons of a certain age – actually three; Kline is there to make up the numbers – and let them loose in a 24-hour neon nightmare. It’s a no-brainer.

Age is the key factor in all of this. Director Jon Turteltaub and writer Dan Fogelman invite the friends (and us) to consider how they might behave when the reins of convention are removed.

At the end of the day there is but one answer: you’re as old as you feel. Be it 16 or 60 (or, in Freeman’s case, 76) age is just a number.

Enormous fun.

Star rating: ***

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