Before the movie even started playing on the screen, Stand Up Guys distinguished itself by having a cast that includes Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin, as well as Julianna Margulies and Lucy Punch supporting roles. That was enough to get me to the theater, and I’m glad I went; the film almost plays out like The Hangover but for the geriatric set, with mobster touches thrown in.
Valentine (Pacino), whose friends call him Val, has just been released from prison after a 28-year sentence. His best friend Doc (Walken) picks him up, and Val tells him he wants “to party.” Doc dutifully plays the role of the friend who will do anything for his just-released buddy – he takes him to a (pretty normal-looking, actually) whorehouse only to find it’s now run by the daughter (Punch) of the friend who used to run it – and he takes Val to his favorite diner, where a young waitress named Alex (Addison Timlin) works. What Doc doesn’t tell him, however, is that he’s been hired to kill Val, and that he has 24 hours to do it; eventually, though, Val figures this out, and so their night of “partying” turns into a night of “lasts” for Val, or at least that’s how he wants the night to be. They pick up their old buddy Hirsch (Arkin) from his assisted living home as well, and suddenly find themselves out on a joyride across town.
The three main actors in this movie – Pacino, Arkin, and Walken – are all fantastic in their roles. Walken is very good at being deadpan, and you can’t really figure out until the end whether he really will go through with it and kill Val (Pacino) or not. Pacino is over-the-top, hitting on every young woman he sees, but his character has a soft side to him as well. Arkin comes into the film later on, but when it does, it turns Hangover-like, and the parts when they are in a stolen car together are some of the funniest in the movie.
Yes, see this film. The middle third of it was a bit slow for my liking, but the rest of it makes up for that. The ending is fairly easy to predict, even though the fate of some of our characters is left up in the air, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting or fun to watch. I’m hoping this movie does well at the box office based on its A-list cast alone, and it’s a film that anyone could enjoy, though be aware it is rated “R” for a reason.
Stand Up Guys is currently in theaters, and is rated R with a runtime of 94 minutes.
Rating: 4 stars out of 5.