Usually, it’s always funnier when old people do it.
Stand Up Guys brings together some of the classiest, accomplished, and just plain strange, actors of our time in Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin. And at this stage of their respective careers, these guys are pretty much down to do whatever if the mood strikes them.
In this flick, they are more-or-less doing the same thing that we saw fellow acting veterans Bruce Willis, John Malkovich, and Morgan Freeman enact in Red; just in a more subtle fashion (no high-octane action sequences).
An elderly Pacino is released from prison after completing a 28-year sentence. His best friend, and partner-in-crime, Walken, picks him up and is willing to do anything his anxious friend wants to get into. The reason being: He has to kill him within 24 hours.
Now that’s not a spoiler, for the audience learns of this within the first 10 minutes. But as Walken struggles with doing this job – at the behest of an old vindictive crime-boss (Mark Margolis) – he allows Pacino to indulge in some nostalgic shenanigans (bar scene, whore house, stealing cars, etc.). And along the way, they decide to spring their long-time getaway driver and friend, Arkin, from the nursing home for one last wild night.
Sounds like a riot, but that’s not always the case as this talkative sucker plays out.
The first 30 minutes are just a waste as Pacino and Walken dip into all the above mentioned “shenanigans.” All the intended jokes and quasi-slapstick humor is only going to be funny to the people that have an AARP card. Everyone below that age, may feel like the script failed the talent, or vice versa. However, once a clever little twist is introduced just after the first act, the dynamics change and the punch-lines start to resonate in a chuckle-like manner; especially when Alan Arkin joins the reunion stint.
What starts to creep in are portions of substantial dialogue that could get the viewer reflecting upon things, albeit in a light manner. And while certain sequences, that should derive big laughs only deserve a hearty snicker at best, the hustling cast – which sees a calm, yet still sarcastic, Christopher Walken – shakes it just enough in the latter stages to overcome many bland moments experienced early on.
Overall, Stand Up Guys could have been enhanced with a better script. The three leads do what they can and actually shine when the screenplay breaks away from the telegraphed hijinks. Essentially, it’s one of those, “It has its moments” type flicks.
Stand Up Guys is rated R and opens in the Tampa Bay market on Friday.