Stand Up Guys
Directed by Fisher Stevens. Starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Julianna Margulies, Mark Margolis, Lucy Punch, Vanessa Ferlito. (2012, R, 94 min.)
REVIEWED By Leah Churner, Fri., Feb. 1, 2013
Yet another boomer-sploitation comedy about puckered septuagenarians throwing Geritol to the wind, Stand Up Guys stars Pacino, Walken, and Arkin as a trio of petty crooks who reunite postretirement to settle some old scores and rediscover the meaning of friendship. As directed by character actor-turned-filmmaker Fisher Stevens, Guys has the lax, sleep-deprived vibe of one of those end-of-the-show "experimental" sketches on Saturday Night Live. Were this SNL, the joke would be how unfunny and depressing a Bucket List sequel might be, with the original characters dead and buried and a fresh crop of Academy Award-winning geezers trucked in to reiterate the carpe diem theme. Unfortunately, this movie is not a spoof.
Val (Pacino) is released from the slammer after serving 28 years, having refused to rat out his crew. His old accomplice, Doc (Walken), picks him up and takes him out for a night on the town. They visit a brothel, steal a car, and bust their pal Hirsch (Arkin) out of a nursing home. Turns out Doc has a secret: He has orders from “Boss Claphands” (Breaking Bad’s Mark Margolis) to whack Val, or else he himself gets whacked. Slow-motion shoot-out montages and recurring jokes about prescription co-pays top it all off. The screenplay’s a cut-and-paste mess of stock lines (“Those were the days, my friend”), with at least one-quarter of its pages devoted to timely Viagra-related punch lines. (Note: The first wave of Viagra-conceived babies are now in high school.)
Does anyone, young or old, wish to see a 72-year-old Pacino sporting spiky hair and goatee, hollering in his “Tony Montana” voice about having a boner? Is he in a contest with Mick Jagger to see who can keep up the wild-man shtick into the triple digits? This is a sad spectacle, digitally color-calibrated to "Seventies" sepia and arbitrarily propped up with new songs by Jon Bon Jovi. If nothing else, Stand Up Guys is a movie that lives up to its tagline: "They don't make ’em like they used to."