Last Vegas

Old age can be a disease. If one sits in a corner the whole day long and does absolutely nothing. A certain amount of caution and rest, of course, is required when one is aged. But an excess of it can have the reverse effect. It pulls you down. Alternatively, like the four aged men in Last Vegas who decide to do something they haven’t done in a very long time, one can get together with ancient friends, rattle one’s brittle bones, and laugh and have quite a bit of fun.

Life is short. And life is beautiful. Thus, one must embrace every good moment that it can offer, till the very end. Equally important, for happiness, it is necessary to throw out all the old, weighty garbage stored secretly in one’s mind; some of which, both sweet and painful at the same time, extend way back to the days of one’s childhood.

Billy (Michael Douglas) plans to get married to a pretty something half his age, and invites his three childhood friends to his bachelor’s party in Las Vegas. Sam (Kevin Kline) has flesh that is weak but he’s strongly willing. Paddy (Robert De Niro) ends an old feud by accepting the invitation. To mentally experience the exuberance of youth, Archie (Morgan Freeman) escapes from his house through a window instead of simply walking out of the front door.

The magnificent ambiances, partying dolls, and sounds of the “holy spirit getting into the people” at the casino, in the film, are at best a temporary illusion. One that is short lived and destined to vanish like the moon at the break of dawn when the booze and the cash runs out. But it is also a worthy reminder of the worthlessness of a vegetable existence, and the pointlessness of waiting, miserly, for the grim reaper to come and turn one into dust.

Raising a toast to the goodness of selfless lifelong bonding of true friends, one of the fellows cheers, “Feeling a little bit alive is a lot better than just waiting to die”.

What makes Jon Turteltaub’s childhood-friends’-reunion-picnic different in its genre, and likeable, is the urge of an aged quartet, for life. And, of course, the realization for a lot of us that we might someday be seated in a similar lonely room, dreaming of secretly changing into youthful, jazzy clothes, and adventurously jumping out of the window.

Categories
Film Reviews

Film critic – Deccan Chronicle, The Asian Age, Upper Stall, Dear Cinema,  Rediff, and The Film Street Journal
Features writer (past ) – The Hindu, and The Times Group

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