Sunday, November 24, 2013

Brandon Isaacson on Last Vegas (re-post from

Originally appeared on, 11/1/2013.

Last Vegas is a hard movie to write about. I hated the first third of the film, which is filled with classic Las Vegas “musts.” We dig slightly below the surface on issues held by aging men, while watching women be shown for sexual appeal. The major manifestation of this is when four men judge a bikini contest. Need I say more?

However, while this problem does stay subtly in the background for most of the film, it tries to become something more. Issues like how to treat sick older family members, or how to overcome the sadness of losing one’s spouse, are explored. It doesn’t do a bad job, but it’s also nowhere near as successful as many films have been before and will be after.

I should also note that there is one woman who is not there for sexiness, but she is there sort of as a plot point. Last Vegas will definitely not pass the Bechdel Test, as not only is she the only notable female character, but her purpose is to be the object of two male friends’ desires. This really at the heart of the sour taste Last Vegas left in my mouth. Despite some attempts to deal with actual issues, it still relies on morally dubious mainstream conventions that ultimately subvert some of the moral points made by the end of the film (which I won’t spoil). This "fun" movie left me feeling quite sad and frustrated, even though it wasn't that bad.

Grade: C+

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