Starring: Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin
Genre: Comedy/ Drama/ Crime
After serving 28 years and keeping his mouth firmly shut, Val (Pacino) is finally out of prison to be met by his lifelong best friend Doc (Walken). There is one small problem; due to a job in the past when Val accidentally killed the son of a crime boss called Claphands (Mark Margolis) Doc has been given the job of killing Val within the next 24 hours, the only reason he is still alive. Naturally, Doc is struggling to go through with it and over the course of the night they get up to their old tricks and manage to persuade old friend Hirsch (Alan Arkin, the only character with a semi sensible name) to join in the fun. During all this, Val secretly knows what Doc has to do, and as the night goes on they are both reminded of why they are both friends, but Doc is getting ever closer to making the biggest decision of his life.
I believe in that synopsis I may have made Stand Up Guys sound far better than it actually is. Trust me; this is one absolutely terrible film that its big name cast should be well and truly ashamed of being involved in. In what is supposed to be a comedy, the humour which includes Pacino taking too much Viagra as well as gags based around rape and burying dead bodies is so ill judged and poorly written it is quite frankly embarrassing to watch. It seems quite clear screenwriter Noah Haidle has films from In Bruges to They Live in his DVD collection, but his attempts to recreate the well written dark humour of the likes of In Bruges are beyond cringe worthy.
Of course the main reason people may watch this (as was the main reason I did) is the big name cast list, and they all should also be ashamed of themselves. Al Pacino often has a tendency to overact, but here he is ridiculous. In what I can only assume is an attempt at comedy he chews scenery and quite frankly looks drunk the entire time as he seems quite happy to just pick up his pay cheque. Comedy is very difficult to get right, and Pacino makes the usual complacent mistake that so many actors do of thinking overacting will immediately produce great comedy, unfortunately he just seriously embarrasses himself here. Walken and Arkin are usually very dependable actors, and though solid here, have no chance when Pacino is so distracting and the material they are given is so poor.
As the film reaches its final third, Haidle obviously wants a poignant ending. There could have been one, as indeed in there somewhere is a good concept of a film that contains some quite emotional themes of lifelong friendship and loyalty. However, as it is so poorly made with some of the most awful dialogue and misfiring attempts at ‘comedy’ it is pretty much impossible to care by this point.
Please do not be fooled by the big name cast on the poster that are simply happy to pick up their money, Stand Up Guys is a boring and downright embarrassing film that all involved will surely be happy to leave off their CV. Avoid at all costs.