Thursday, May 16, 2013

Stand Up Guys

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. I am just sharing my opinions and perspective. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 1-5. 1, of course, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! Or we can...I don't know, do whatever you wanna do. 

Stand Up Guys – 2 out of 5

Let’s not waste time arguing whether or not Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin are great actors or not because we all know they are (and if we did argue, it would just be embarrassing for the both of us). Sure they have done their fair share of crappy films but how can one argue with Arkin’s amazing sense of comedic timing, Pacino’s intensity and Walken’s voice and dance moves? Putting these three men together, even with the shittiest script a person can throw together, should be a no-brainer journey to a mildly amusing, possibly amazing, movie—sadly, Stand Up Guys is one of those mildly amusing movies that seemed to not fully utilize the overabundance of talent they had in their cast and stops just short of being great.

I'm being 100% serious, need to figure out how to make this
man immortal because the world needs him...we'll always need him.

Val (Al Pacino) just got out of prison and his best friend and partner in crime, Doc (Christopher Walken), is ready to show him the time of his life after spending 28 years in the pen. It's all about hookers, alcohol, drugs and catching up with their old pal; Hirsch (Alan Arkin)—and by catching up, I mean they steal a car, get into a high speed chase and then find more hookers. The problem that is hiding behind this playful romp is the fact Doc is hired by a man named Claphands (Mark Margolis); a crime boss with a vendetta, to kill Val before morning or he’ll be put six feet under as well.

"I want him dead!!!"
"Sir, this is Domino's."
"I know...send him one of your pizzas."

For the most part, Stand Up Guys isn’t a terrible film but it doesn’t do much to shine. With all the talent that is bursting within it, you think it could do a lot but the script feels like it’s just on cruise control and having a relaxing drive along the back roads of America…and that’s not a commentary on the age of the actors in this film and the fact that older people are slow drivers and have an affinity for Sunday drives that have no real destination in mind.

All he needs is a fedora, an iPhone and a PBR and his transformation into
an aging hipster is complete.

Pacino looks like your typical crazy Uncle who sends you
the conspiracy emails that explains how Obama is the
Antichrist and is going to take away our guns and talks
at lengths about the "gay agenda"...
 Each performer in this film is fantastic—and that really shouldn’t be a surprise (Granted, Pacino is picking out pieces of scenery from his teeth in the second half of the film after a very hammy opening performance)—but Walken, more than anyone else, really steals the movie and commands attention. While his performance is subdued and a little more natural than we usually see from the man who has become almost mythological in our pop culture, it didn’t stop Walken from making the movie more about him than Pacino, Arkin or even the story itself. His character of Doc really finds himself in a dilemma where he is caught between a rock and a place where he’s forced to kill his friend (who hasn’t been there, right?) and Walken’s performance really reflects the split loyalties he is kicked into having.

"Crank up the Tommy James and the Shondells, boys...let's roll!"

I’m not going to say that Stand Up Guys is boring because it’s not—it’s entertaining enough that it will keep your interest but it just didn’t feel like it was really giving much effort in its output. The story is interesting enough and has the potential for some great drama and humor but it just gave out the bare minimum in both these cases--in fact, Walken actually saves a lot of the humor since most of it was pretty standard, already-told-over-and-over again jokes (there's even a boner pill/4 hour erection joke), it can make you wonder if the humor aspect was written by your "by-the-numbers" over 40 club-jumping stand-up comedian who still thinks jokes about women working in office settings still qualifies as relevant material.  Whenever these horribly unfunny, and overdone gags would rear its Jeff Foxworthy-looking head, Walken would say something or provide something as simple as a glance or a shrug to make that stinker actually funny. Overall, the movie is decent but far from memorable…even though it ends on a great shot and a promise of something awesome.

All this shot needs is a hard rocking soundtrack, slow-motion and an
explosion behind them...unless they're going to a funeral...and they
sort of look like they are.

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