7:00 PM, 22nd March, 2014
Last Vegas unites a stellar cast for a weekend in a town of fast cars, fast cash and fast women – but the fastest these guys are moving is on a motorised scooter. Lauded as The Hangover in 30 years I think that’s an easy connection to make, though the focus is quite different and seriously, these guys don’t need copious alcohol and illicit substances to forget what they did last night. A couple of hours afterwards they’ve forgotten what they had for breakfast!
Four old school friends are heading to Vegas for a bachelor weekend before Douglas gets married. Douglas is the womanising Don Juan and De Niro the matter-of-fact tough guy who holds a grudge over Douglas ditching his wife’s funeral years earlier. Watching the two of them vie for the affections of the always great Mary Steenburgen in Vegas was a treat. Filling up the quartet are Kline who is still a light comedy pro and Freeman who looks to have had a wonderful time playing ‘tired and emotional’ when he lets loose in Vegas. Kline, usually henpecked by his wife, has a great moment when she slips him a Viagra and a condom telling him ‘what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas’.
Unfortunately it does run out of steam towards the end with a bit too much stereotyping and safe comedy shenanigans. All involved obviously had a great time playing up, and while you’re not delivered laugh-out-loud you do get smile-and-not-break-a-hip.
8:55 PM, 22nd March, 2014
On turning 21, Tim (Gleeson) finds out that he shares a gift with all the males in his family: so long as he can find a dark wardrobe or broom cupboard somewhere, he can shut his eyes and wish himself back to any moment in his past. His past, not necessarily the past; he has to have been there before in order to go there again.
The first act Tim performs with his newfound time-travel ability is a small, surprising one; and a hallmark of writer Richard Curtis’s cleverness and all-round niceness. He’s not trying to tie a story into complicated knots so that we get the migraine effect of looking at a four-dimensional Escher drawing. Some of Tim’s choices have profound consequences; others (like his very first use of time travel) seem to have no particular consequences at all. (This is refreshingly unlike The Butterfly Effect, where nobody can do anything without ruining everything.)
It’s been sold as a romantic comedy, and that’s accurate so far as it goes – certainly, it’s the romance (the awkward, but surprisingly sweet and painless series of interactions with an unusually charming Rachel McAdams) that generates the funniest bits of comedy. But although Tim announces that his goal is to ‘get a girlfriend’, his larger and real goal is to use his gift to lead the best life he can. I think the film cheats a bit in helping Tim along with his quest. But I walked out not caring in the least.