For one reason or another I actively avoided Last Vegas during its theatrical run in theaters. The idea of four geezers enjoying a bachelor party weekend in Vegas just didn’t appeal to me. These days we also have a relatively quick turnaround time from theaters to home video. Michael Douglas plays Billy, he is getting married to a woman more than half his age, but he doesn’t seem to care. Robert Deniro plays Paddy and he’s more than skeptical about this trip and isn’t Billy’s biggest son. Morgan Freeman plays Archie; he recently suffered a stroke and is under the watch of his overprotective son. Kevin Kline is the last of the fab four and he plays Sam. His wife is more than insistent that he have a good time in Vegas, leaving a note saying “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” This sets the wheels in motion so to speak and the film is now all about having fun, At least in theory. There’s plenty of back and forth banter between the four leads and each of them seem to at least be having a good time. My biggest problem, however, is that the film often goes for cheap, easy laughs. The plot is overly familiar and very predictable as well. We get the usual high jinks often involved with these types of films. There’s a bikini contest, drinking, gambling and things of that nature. We’re in PG-13 territory here so the film is kept in the safe zone a little bit, but that’s OK. I don’t think the target audience will mind.
I am a fan of the cast, Deniro especially and it’s great to see such a talented cast here. They definitely help elevate the material, which is nothing to write home about in the first place. The film at least does a good job of giving them all something to do. Nobody is shortchanged here. The film is an ideal rental. I mentioned avoiding this in theaters, but it’s the kind of movie you can pop in one night and not regret that decision. It offers just enough entertainment value to warrant a rental. There are a few surprise plot elements, but most people will probably see them coming far before their revelation. The film even throws in some nice cameos as well, but I’ll leave that for the viewer to discover and avoid spoiling them here. I won’t say this is something I will want to revisit any time in the near future, but I’m glad I watched it once at least. I just wish it were more ambitious.
Video: How’s it look?
The movie, new to Blu-ray, is indicative of what we’d expect from a larger studio movie. Simply put, it’s darn near flawless and I’m hoping I see a Blu-ray that doesn’t look so good because it seems that everything looks amazing. I guess that’s a double edged sword. Sony presents Last Vegas in a near perfect 2.40:1 AVC HD image. Detail is superb, contrast and black levels are spot on with no sign of compression artifacts or the like. Colors sizzle with bold and bright scenes that make you feel like you’re in the audience at a Vegas show. Simply put, aside from a few minor blips in a couple of scenes – this is what we’ve come to expect from a new to Blu-ray film. Viewers will not be disappointed.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Admittedly I wasn’t expecting such a robust mix out of this film, but the DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack does have a few moments that really made me take notice. Vocals and dialogue are all top notch, there’s not the slightest bit of distortion to be heard. What really made my head turn were the use of the surrounds. The show in Vegas has a swirling 360 degree effect to it that’s nearly dizzying. There’s actually a pretty decent car chase scene thrown in for good measure and though the LFE weren’t too involved, I found a few scenes where I felt a bit of bass. A top notch effort here, for sure.
Supplements: What are the extras?
While the bullet points are a plenty, they somewhat lack in substance. Still, let’s take a look at what the disc serves up.
Audio Commentary – Director Jon Turteltaub and Screenwriter Dan Fogelman offer up a fairly entertaining commentary track that tells of some of the physical “demands” of shooting in Las Vegas, the very seasoned cast and even some more technical issues. It’s actually a pretty decent track that I rather enjoyed.
Shooting in Sin City – As the title suggests, the challenges of shooting a movie in one of the most popular cities in the world.
Four Legends – Each with an Academy Award, this focuses on Kline, DeNiro, Freeman and Douglas. What else needs to be said?
It’s Going to Be Legendary – More along the lines of a glorified trailer, this features some cast and crew information about the film.
The Redfoo Party – The poolside bikini contest – best watched in super slow-motion if at all possible.
The Flatbush Four – A look at the actual characters played by “the four”, if you haven’t had enough of them already.
Supporting Ensemble – The four need a supporting cast and several of the “back up crew” are featured here.