Stand Up Guys Review
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin play retired gangsters who get together for one night of craziness. Al Pacino's character has been incarcerated for 28 years, and they are celebrating his release. Walken harbors a secret-he has to kill Pacino for the reasons he went to jail. This action-comedy has all the ingredients for a great film, however, for the most part, it fumbles the ball.
Al Pacino plays Val, Christopher Walken plays Doc. As the film opens, its pretty good. The chemistry between Pacino and Walken is what you'd expect...unbelievable. Walken, who seemingly disappeared for a couple years is back and still great. I thought he did really good in "Seven Psychopaths" last year, and it just feels great to watch this great actor again. I really could feel the bond between Val and Doc, and it is quite clear they are the best of friends who have been through a lot. These characters are brought to life effortlessly by these two legendary actors.
However, there a feeling that something is missing right from the get-go. I don't think it has anything to do with the actors, but the script. The script seems to tell the same jokes. Val goes to a local brothel several times and there are jokes about Viagra. There is one hilarious scene where Val and Doc steal a modern car, where you press a button to start. There are a couple good laughs because Val has been in prison for 28 years. Then when the friends break another friend Hircsh (Alan Arkin) from retirement, they make the exact same joke. The film feels lazy in terms of screenwriting.
With three great actors and the situation in which the film sets up, one would think some exciting stuff goes down. People seeing this movie with that mentality will be sourly disappointed. The trio goes to same brothel (again and again), they go to the same restaurant with the same waitress (again and again) they steal a car and go on a pleasure cruise. They discover a naked woman in the trunk and brutally kill the people who put her in that position. More sitting and eating, more sitting and eating...
Then there's an awesome shootout at the end...then the movie is over.
Pacing is a really serious issue along with the script. A pacing issue with a weak script is definitely a recipe for disaster. The film clocks in at an hour and half, but after that much time devoted to brothel-lounging and talk of the "good ol'days," one does get bored quite quickly. The only thing that keeps this film afloat are Pacino, Walken and Arkin. All three actors are Gods with these roles and movies. I just wished they had a better script to work from.
Most of all, this film reeks of disappointment and what could have been done with this material and these actors. But at least the actors themselves are charming.
FINAL GRADE: C-