Clipper Film Correspondent
Rated R for language, sexual content, violence and brief drug use.
Starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin, Julianna Marguilies, Mark Margolis, Lucy Punch, Addison Timlin, Vanessa Ferlito, Katheryne Winnick.
Written by Noah Haidle.
Directed by Fisher Stevens.
GRADE: ** (two out of 4 stars)
It's tough to see some of your favorite actors get a little long in the tooth. The normal procedure for an acclaimed, yet aging actor is to transition from starring roles into supporting “characters.” For some of the more accomplished film veterans, this transition is easy. For others, they often ride into the sunset kicking and screaming. I'm getting the impression that Al Pacino fits into the category of those less inclined to take the “character” roles, as witnessed by his appearance in Stand Up Guys, the story of aging mobsters out for one last night on the town.
Pacino plays Val (short for Valentine), an ex-con just released from a 30-year stint in prison. His best buddy Doc (Christopher Walken) picks him up and reintroduces Val into the ways of freedom by taking him for drinks and dinner. Val soon learns that Doc has been commissioned by their old mob boss (Mark Margolis) to execute him, since Val inadvertently shot and killed the boss' only son just prior to entering prison. Rather than resist, Val enlists Doc to hook up with their old buddy Hirsch (Alan Arkin), who has been living out his golden years in a rest home. The trio take a stolen hot rod and head out for a night on the town that includes visiting a few prostitutes, taking vengeance out on a few small-time hoodlums who kidnapped and raped a woman they found in the trunk of the stolen car, several trips to Doc's favorite diner, and little shopping for new suits.
In the end, Doc must decide whether to kill his pal or come up with a better solution.
Stand Up Guys has the benefit of fine performances from three very talented actors. The trouble is, all three of them are not leading men, better suited for the aforementioned “character” roles. The result is a film that moves along slowly, as three old guys rehash the “old days” (which compromises most of the dialogue). There are a certainly few funny moments and a little drama, but Stand Up Guys is a movie that will add years to your life.
And there's the rub. Finding an audience for Stand Up Guys will be a difficult task, as the senior crowd is not usually drawn to movies about old mobsters, while the younger crowd seems enamored by movies about vampires, superheroes and party scenes.
Stand Up Guys is rated R for a substantial amount of salty language and some violence.