Written by / 2/01/2013 / No comments / , , , , ,

STAND UP GUYS

year: 2013 cast: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin rating: **1/2
In one scene towards the end of STAND UP GUYS, Al Pacino’s Val confesses to a priest all that he’s done, including a tryst with a hooker, robbing a pharmacy, and, among a few other things, stealing a car. The priest can’t believe all this happened in one day, but the colorful description is more entertaining than the already experienced reality.

As we begin our tale, the scruffy/beaten Val gets out of prison after serving 28 years. He’s greeted by former crime partner turned brooding artist Christopher Walken who, as Doc, has an assignment to whack his old friend for a vengeful mobster – or else both will be killed. Much of the film has the duo looking and acting their age, hanging around town consisting of a few seemingly vacant boulevards. They drink at a bar, philosophize at a coffee shop, and reflect old times while a grungy R&B score thumps in the background.  

Two great actors like Pacino and Walken make the somewhat trite dialog interesting, but even when they free their former driver Hirsch, played by Alan Arkin, from a retirement home and go joyriding in a stolen hot rod, it all seems too easy: anything they wanted including young women (who feel sexually about the coots what the director feels historically about the actors, or something), cash, fancy clothes, and loads of prescription drugs, are right there: giving little edge for the once edgy thugs. And a subplot that involves a damsel in distress picks up the pace, but is ultimately pointless. Meanwhile, the dark task remains in Doc’s peripheral, and eventually Val figures things out: leading to a final act with genuinely heartfelt scenes and a beautifully conceived climax, providing the kind of glorified potential these guys deserved all along.
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