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Trailer: Last Vegas

Three sixty-something friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal.

PT2M24S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-326h4 620 349

Reviewer rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

(Rated M, 104 minutes). Now showing.
★★★☆

At first glance, this comedic romp featuring an all-star cast of screen veterans would seem little more than a blatant, silver-dollar cash-in on the recent Hangover franchise. A misfit mob of former friends dragged out of their banal routines for one last hurrah in the city of sin, with all that Vegas can bring.

Yet, despite being as mainstream and silly a comedy as anything Robert De Niro has attempted in recent years, Jon Turteltaub's ''old men behaving badly'' romp does more than merely pander to expectation. Yes, there are plenty of young, nubile women in various stages of undress on show (who all bizarrely exhibit great interest in their elderly arrivals). There's even a cameo from rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson), perhaps in a fond nod to Mike Tyson's turn in The Hangover. Yet, beyond all the noise of the strip lies a buddy comedy with a bit of heart.

Michael Douglas leads the pack as the oily Billy: a real estate entrepreneur who lures his old gang of Brooklyn pals to his impending nuptials (to a girl more than half his age). But a growing fascination with lounge singer Diane (a fabulous Mary Steenburgen) rattles him. Diane soon opens up old wounds within the group.

Archie (Morgan Freeman), free of an overbearing son concerned for his father's health, winds up befriending a drag queen after busting some moves, while Sam (Kevin Kline) must decide whether to act on the hall pass offered by his wife. As a group of old-timers, they're all rather loveable (and entertaining).

Clearly, the main cast - who range in age from 66 (Kline) to 76 (Freeman) - appear to be having a whale of a time and the feeling is infectious. Freeman and Kline are both masters of comedy, but rarely get to flex such chops these days. Equally, De Niro, when given the right material, can still rise to the occasion, while Douglas elicits a surprisingly moving turn, once Billy begins to question his life choices. Inevitably, there are Viagra gags, but generally, this is good fun.

Steenburgen's supporting presence as the middle-aged chanteuse adds a nice, sassy dynamic to proceedings. Her ability to spark rivalry among the men is a rare delight. One imagines there will be more to come.