"Stand Up Guys"
Release Date: Feb. 1, 2013
Running Time: 94 minutes
Jon Bon Jovi contributes two new songs to Stand Up Guys, but it’s his Young Gun II Oscar-nominated Blaze of Glory that best sums up this Al Pacino-Christopher Walken crime caper. Stand Up Guys follows the misadventures of these law-breaking seniors over the course of 22 hours. Pacino’s out to enjoy his first night of freedom after spending 28 years behind bars. Walken’s not just along for the ride—he must kill his best friend on the orders of their former boss, who blames his son’s death on Pacino. Pacino knows the score, and if he’s going to take a bullet to the head by 10 a.m. the next morning, he’s going to go out swinging. So Pacino and Walken spring their comrade-in-crime Alan Arkin from his nursing home for a night to remember, old geezer style. Sure, Stand Up Guys is an excuse for three terrific actors to get together and cause all sorts of mayhem. It also possesses the same sense of nostalgia and the need to relive a larcenous past that informed Tough Guys, the 1986 gangster comedy that marked Burt Lancaster’s last film with Kirk Douglas. A force of unbridled energy, the wildly gesticulating Pacino goes about his business in his typically loud and larger-than-life manner. Walken’s the straight man to Pacino’s manic ex-con, and as quietly dignified as he is, you can hear Walken’s mind at work as he tries to figure out how he can avoid killing Pacino. Arkin’s just out to have some fun for as long as he’s around. Noah Haidle’s script may play to his cast’s strengths but it is beneath their talents. At best, the jokes about erectile dysfunction, senior discounts, and modern technology grow tired quickly. At worst, Pacino endures several humiliating moments that not even Adam Sandler considered subjecting him to in the degrading Jack and Jill. Not that it’s possible to see too much of what’s going on. Director Fisher Stevens opts for a naturalistic look, so the action unfolds mostly in the poorly lit streets of an unnamed city. Even the diners, brothels, and hospitals in Stand Up Guys seem as dark as a coalmine. Symbolically, the sun does come up in time for Stand Up Guys’ ending. It’s one that allows Walken to take the course of action that’s expected of him and treats Pacino with a respect that’s missing from most of Stand Up Guys.
Aired: Jan. 31, 2013
Web site: http://www.standupguysfilm.com/