Movie Review: Stand Up Guys
What We Liked
What We Didn't Like
What you are about to read is more of a serious warning, than anything else. Have you ever wanted to un-see something? For those of us that hold the all-star cast of Stand Up Guys in the highest esteem, your image of each of them could be quite possibly changed forever. I envisioned greatness as I pictured Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin together in a gangster movie! This would-be comedy/drama exhibits absolutely nothing close to comedy. Comedy would insinuate one should laugh or at the minimum, grin. The attempt at humor falls flat and is just plain embarrassing. In addition, any semblance of drama is completely sub-par. Who can we blame for this atrocity? I can’t fathom the thought of blaming the actors; we have all seen the intensity they are made of in other films. So we have to place this failure on the writer and director.
It truly pains me to relive this for you, but here it goes. The story begins with Val (Pacino) getting out of jail after a twenty-eight year stay, where he was a “stand-up guy” and kept his mouth shut. Val’s old gangster buddy and best friend, Doc (Walken) picks him up. The pace of the film is incredibly slow, and you are continually waiting for something to happen; it never really does. Doc starts to show his pal Val a good time, all the while knowing that he has a very limited time to end Val’s life. Doc struggles with this because of his love for Val, but if he doesn’t complete the hit, he has been told that something will happen to his granddaughter. You see, Doc was hired many years ago to kill Val as restitution for Val accidentally killing the son of a prominent boss. They go to a Brothel, where Val is unable to get things up so to speak, so they take a rain-check and go about robbing a drug store to get the ever so famous “little blue pill.” Val takes way too many, and ends up in the hospital because of the side effects.
They soon find out that their long-time partner and driver, Hirsch (Arkin) is in a nursing home. They go about the business of breaking him out and decide to pull one last caper. Did I mention how bad this film is yet? Even though you can slightly detect that these three brilliant actors have chemistry with one another, it is lost in translation. The poor script is something that, even with the caliber of excellence available proves impossible to make entertaining. Also, I must mention Hirsch’s daughter, Nina (Julianna Margulies). I bet she thought, “Wow, I’m going to be in a film with, Pacino, Walken, and Arkin. Two words, epic fail. I’m sure she too is embarrassed by her role.
In conclusion, just say no to Stand Up Guys. I must have looked at my watch ten times, praying for a speedy ending. Keep your fantastic memories of these actors intact. Let’s hope that this was just some very sick nightmare and that there will still be outstanding performances for all of our gangster hero’s in the future.