Stand Up Guys: Film Review

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Oh boy. Another movie about elderly men kicking butt. Didn’t buy it in The Expendables or its hilariously bad sequel, and I’m not quite sure that I bought it this time either, even though this go-around stars Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin.

Stand Up Guys is a movie about reunions: its story tells the frankly sad tale of a former goon named Val (Pacino) who gets out of prison after nearly three decades and is reunited with his old besties, Doc and Hirsch (yes, I know: all the names in this movie are straight out of a 1930s comic book). The men are still bosom buddies and pick up (almost) exactly where they left off…except that one of them is carrying a heavy, mob-induced burden: he must commit another murder. Who is the target of this man-made demise? No guesses for guessing it’s one of their own.

In a way, the movie has its own charm. I can appreciate the fact the makers wanted to reunite Pacino and Walken in a movie about their favorite turf – the Mafia. I also like the fact that they tried to make it about more than a bunch of guys in their 60s ordering hits on their rivals. It’s more about their relationship and how the Mafia – in a twisted and demented form – becomes the bedrock of the lives and loves for those who die by its rules.

Unfortunately, the movie starts to feel like Sex and the City, except that the four middle aged women have been replaced by three senior citizen men, the white linen lunch table at Nordstroms has been replaced by a seedy bar at a “Joisey” diner, and the martinis are now Viagra. The men spend so much time talking about love, relationships, their hopes and dreams, etc., you almost wish one of them would take out a gun and shoot one of the others just to make something else happen. In the end, it kind of does and it kind of doesn’t, but you don’t seem to care by that point.

Methinks it’s time to put away the Corleones, once and for all. Oh, and Mr. Pacino: see if you can get your agent to connect you with Meryl Streep. She’ll show you how to find meaningful roles in the twilight of your film career.