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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Stand Up Guys Movie Review

On the poster for "Stand Up Guys" reads the tagline "They don't make 'em like they used to." Three cheers for foreshadowing - where have all the great gangster films gone? Other than throwing a few talented, classic actors together, the movie doesn't have any direction or creative ideas. It's all dressed up with nowhere to go.

While it's always a pleasure to watch Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin do their thing, all three have appeared in better films recently: Walken as a musician battling Parkinson's in "A Late Quartet"; Pacino a couple years back as Dr. Kevorkian in "You Don't Know Jack"; and Arkin as a master of sass in "Argo". Any of these are worth watching over Fisher Stevens' "Stand Up Guys," which relies on toilet humor and bad new Bon Jovi songs to tell a story.

After serving a 28-year sentence for not handing over one of his criminal comrades, Val (Pacino) gets out of prison and is picked up by his best bud Doc (Walken). Little does he know that Doc has been ordered by a former mob boss to kick him off the planet. Naturally, that's not something he wants to do, so instead they drive around, go out for meals at a local diner, and then hit up a whore house. At some point, they also bring Hirsch (Arkin) along for the ride, and that's when it stops being as boring.

As the plot in Noah Haidle's script is nonexistent, "Stand Up Guys" relies on sharp dialogue and interesting scenarios to pick up the slack. So much for that. There are several scenes of the old men talking about their dicks, which really nobody wants to hear about. Between multiple visits to sleep with prostitutes and one pit stop at the hospital after Val takes too much Viagra (shudder), it's way too much.

There's a last-ditch attempt to provoke emotion with Doc's lost-lost granddaughter, but that falls flat and strains to make an impact. It's like trying to make a Very Special Episode of "Beavis and Butthead." Sadly, these Stand Up Guys never get off the ground.

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