Rated PG-13. Running time: 1 hour 45 min.
Our advisories(1-10): Violence 1; Language 4; Sex/Nudity 6.
Our star rating (1-5): 2
One who forgives an affront fosters friendship,
but one who dwells on disputes will alienate a friend.
What at first seems like it will be a raunchy Four Old Geezers and a Gal film turns out to be far better than the first third of it leads one to expect. Life-long pals Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert De Niro), Archie (Morgan Freeman) and Sam (Kevin Kline) agree to meet in Las Vegas for confirmed bachelor Billy’s wedding to a girl less than half his age. The cast is so great that most people will forgive the implausibility of the plot.
Archie, recovering from a mild stroke, is eager to get out from under his overly protective son and cut loose at the town where everything stays behind when you leave. The latter is true also for Sam, whose wife, concerned over his lack of joie de vivre in bed, presents him with a little sex pack and permission to forget the “forsaking all others” in his wedding vow during the next few days. Paddy, still angry with Billy because the latter failed to show up at his wife’s funeral, has to be persuaded to make the trip, but reluctantly turns up, and then almost turns around and leaves when he and Billy meet. Billy has been like the bee going from flower to flower all of his life, but while giving the eulogy at the funeral of a friend, had decided to propose to his girl friend sitting out in the congregation.
The fifth important star is Mary Steenburgen, whose Diana the foursome encounter even before they check into their suite. A woman of a mature but indeterminate age, she has late in life fulfilled her dream of becoming a lounge singer, though, judging by the almost empty room, not a headline singer by any means. We soon see that she is there mainly to become part of a love triangle, one that we eventually learn parallels one over 50 years earlier involving Billy and Paddy.
Director Jon Turteltaub and writer Dan Fogelman’s film manages to rise above its lame plot and erotic scenes thanks to three incidents. One involves Sam’s opportunity to score with a luscious young thing, but…The other involves Billy’s decision concerning the bride who could be his daughter. And the third, and most touching, involves a sacrifice that one of them made for the sake of friendship years earlier, followed by another similar sacrifice in the present. This is not a perfect friendship film by any means, but it is still inspiring at certain moments, as well as amusing. Its erotic scenes in the casino and bedroom make it a questionable choice for older church members, but a group of young adults could have a good time discussing relationships and values in regard to friendship and marriage.