Stand Up Guys

2 Feb

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Synopsis: “A pair of aging con men try to get the old gang back together for one last hurrah before one of the guys takes his last assignment – to kill his comrade.” (Rated R; 1 hour 33 minutes)

A bromance for the ages…or I should say, for the aged.

It”s an extremely dark and unusual premise, but plays out kind of adorably: At the start of the movie Al Pacino is released from prison and picked up by Christopher Walken, his best friend. The premise is that Walken is under orders to kill Pacino by the next morning or he himself will be killed. So you have this one last night they’re spending together, bonding and reminiscing, and it’s filmed in a very sweet, likable way. The fact that these actors have such a long history in the movies playing these sorts of criminals, you instantly believe that they used to be criminals together and are now old, tired men. And it’s a cute, playful movie full of them trying to live it up like they’re younger again while clearly they’re total anachronisms in the modern world. In fact it took a long time during the movie to even realize that it wasn’t meant to be the 70’s because they’re so stuck in the past that it takes ages to see a car, TV or phone that isn’t super old-school – Adi and I were honestly trying to figure out WHEN it all took place.

It’s a cute comedy mixed with the underlying nervous tension of what is yet to come with the dark premise, and mixed in with a strong dash of some twisted subplots of sex and violence. As a slow but satisfying character comedy, I believe most audiences will enjoy it, and it doesn’t hurt that Alan Arkin is his usual amusing self (though I don’t know why he was nominated for Argo considering he’s always the same character).

Let me sum my thoughts up this way: any movie that has old men breaking into a pharmacy to steal blood pressure medication is already better than most comedies; and any movie that stars Walken, Pacino and Arkin and lets them basically riff off each other and reminisce should be enjoyable for most movie fans even if it’s also a bit sad watching these powerhouses of yore doing the scariest thing of all…aging.

The movie was better than Diamonds, a movie where Kirk Douglas is an old man looking for stolen diamonds that was boring rather than sweet or funny. It wasn’t quite as inventively funny or quirky as Bubba Ho-Tep, where elderly Elvis Presley and JFK (played by a black man, naturally) fight an Egyptian mummy in an old age home….yeah, if you haven’t seen that one and that premise sounds like fun, it is!

Quality Rating: B (Good fun, though it had comic timing that didn’t always hit the mark, but it was always enjoyable)

Boaz Rating: B+

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One Response to “Stand Up Guys”

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  1. The Incredible Burt Wonderstone | Boaz's Movie Obsession - March 25, 2013

    […] actor roles these days, and always does it so well. Argo? Absolutely, he was even nominated for it. Stand Up Guys? I liked that movie, and he gave it the sweet and funny heart that it needed, and that’s […]

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