I recall having seen a trailer for Stand Up Guys once; maybe twice in all the time I spend watching trailers when I go the movies. I remember thinking that it looked good and like something I’d take the time to go to the movies to see. It seemed logical, then, to agree when a friend suggested that I check it out and review the film. I watched the trailer one more time, just to make sure. I decided the moment I saw Christopher Walken, that Stand Up Guys still looked interesting so why not?
With that, I was off to the local cinema to give Al Pacino one more shot, enjoy Alan Arkin and behold Christopher Walken, for a whole 95 minutes. The running time seemed refreshingly short considering the length of my most recently reviewed movies and I was glad for that. I wanted something fast and funny and Stand Up Guys seemed like it was about to deliver.
We meet Val (Al Pacino) as he is being released (on parole) from prison. Upon exiting, Val meets the eyes of his friend, Doc (Christopher Walken) who has come to pick him up and ensure that Val has the perfect First Day of Freedom. It’s evident these two have known one another for a long time, a lifetime. It is also clear they’ve both been thinking about this day for a while now. They’ve planned this out, yet Doc seems hesitant at first and we’re not so unsure why.
It’s clear that Doc has been tasked with eliminating Val and he’s torn. Doc opts to give Val a day for the ages, like those nights when you’re so young, you can’t fathom consequence or morning. Almost immediately, they steal a car and break their widowed friend, Hirsch (Alan Arkin) , out of his nursing home. Together they embark on an experience, which they understand will be the last of it’s kind for each of them.
To say this movie starts out slow is an understatement. This movie started out at a lethargic pace, it crawled along, but sped up mercifully as the end drew near. While this alone didn’t kill the potential of this movie, it certainly nailed the coffin shut. Writing is at the core of many a good story and should be regarded with respect, but it isn’t, here. Writing is often an afterthought and that’s too bad because movies that lack excellent writing aren’t excellent movies.
With that said, the movie’s slow, but it’s also a good time. It is perfectly good fun to watch Pacino, Arkin and Walken do excellent work at being enjoyable. These three pretty much play a game of hot potato when they’re on screen together; each taking their turn at being the most awesome for a few moments and then letting the next guy go. It’s great fun to watch.
Some situations are cliché as are some of the cinematic metaphors and that short cut takes away from the final product. It’s a fun story with fun characters that herald a touching sentiment. Ultimately, if you’re willing to challenge yourself not to fall asleep watching it, give it a go.
Stand Up Guys (2012) - C
C = It's not breakthrough cinema, but you'll likely end up having an OK time. The pros outweigh the cons enough to make this kind of enjoyable. Give it a go if you dare.
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