Stand Up Guys brings together the talents of Three Academy Award Winners; Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin. The chemistry among them is outstanding, but hokey comedy, and a lackluster story makes this a movie that really doesn’t live up to the hopes I had before seeing it. The different aspects of the movie can be somewhat confusing and leaves the audience wondering what era the movie even takes place in. Also, the way certain things play out are rather predictable, but still it offers some cheap laughs at times. The only thing that was really going for Stand Up Guys was the amount of acting talent involved.
Stand Up Guys starts off with two old friends reuniting for the first time in 28 long years. Val (Al Pacino), is getting released from prison, and his best friend Doc (Christopher Walken) is there to receive him. It begins somewhat like the beginning to The Blues Brothers. This is the first of many different movies that Stand Up Guys takes a few cues from. Val and Doc then make their way to chat over a cup of coffee. While drinking their coffee, and catching up on old times, Doc tells Val that since he is out it is up to him what he wants to do. Val quickly comes up with the idea of the company of a woman, and the two make their way to a brothel known by the two of them. When they arrive at the brothel, they are greeted by Wendy (Lucy Punch).
Wendy is the daughter of the former owner and quickly offers up her best girl to Val. Not much time passes before Val is back amongst Doc and Wendy, unable to rise to the occasion. Doc asks Wendy if she has anything to help with the situation, but she unfortunately is out. Val and Doc then make their way to a pharmacy, break in, and start taking all sorts of different medications that are needed. There are a few laughs offered up here, and it plays off the fact the two are in their twilight years. People know what to expect when Val literally takes multiple “little blue pills”. Val and Doc then make their way back to Wendy’s, and the rest speaks for itself.
While Val is enjoying the company of a lady, Doc needs to make a phone call. Doc calls their old boss, Claphands (Mark Margolis). Claphands reminds Doc that he needs to take care of Val in a timely fashion, before ten the next morning. Doc now faces a conundrum of having to ‘off’ his best friend in a matter of hours. While Doc is experiencing this problem, Val bounces out of the bedroom and is ready for a drink.
The next scene takes place in a bar where Val exudes his charm with some younger ladies, and then proceeds to snort different medications that Doc picked up at the pharmacy. Val then starts to not feel so well, and decides that Doc needs to take him to the hospital. While at the hospital, they read the nametag of the nurse, Nina Hirsch (Julianna Margulies). The two used to runaround with her father, and after catching up with her the Doctor arrives. The drugs that Val snorted didn’t seem to be the major problem, the pills Val took earlier had truly taken over. This leads to what can only be described as painful looking to men, and the best part of everything is the reaction that Walken offers in this scene. This was all rather predictable but helps to move the plot along in a fun way.
Doc takes Val to his favorite place to get a bite to eat. This is where we are introduced to Alex (Addison Timlin). Doc orders the same thing he always does, and Val orders like it may be his last meal. During this scene, Val tells Doc that he knows there is a hit on him ordered by Claphands, and finally gets Doc to confess that it is him that has to do it. The two are leaving the diner, and Val decides that they need a new mode of transportation, a new model Dodge Charger. Doc is a little concerned due to the fact everyone knows who the car belongs to, and that should be enough to not touch it, but Val thinks otherwise.
The humor comes when Val is trying to figure out how to start the vehicle, and Doc is explaining it to him. Val and Doc then make their way to bust out their old friend, Hirsch (Alan Arkin), from the retirement home he is in. Hirsch quickly jumps at the chance to leave the home, and quickly gets behind the wheel. We once again experience the difficulties of how to start the car, but after that it’s a joyride of all joyrides for the trio. The way the guys interact with each other in the scenes is fun, and the dialogue is fun and fresh. This leads to a fun little chase scene, and a talk about the one wish Hirsch didn’t get to experience.
Now that Hirsch has told Val and Doc about his one wish, it’s back to see Wendy. Hirsch wants to be with two ladies, and after some convincing, Hirsch gets his wish. Doc and Val continue to talk about things, and how everything will play out. Next thing you know, both the women are falling all over Hirsch proclaiming their love for him, and how they are forever ruined for other men. This scene was rather humorous simply by the way that Arkin plays everything off like it’s no big deal. This is the point in the movie where we meet yet ANOTHER person that does nothing for the movie, or the progression of the film.
The guys hear a knocking in the trunk and pull over to find Sylvia (Vanessa Ferlito) tied up and naked. We get her back-story, and its back to the diner for more food. The guys decide, after hearing Sylvia’s story, to exact some revenge. This whole part does nothing for the story, and really didn’t need to be in the movie. It felt thrown in, and instead of making more witty banter amongst the three friends we get a completely pointless scene.
Well, this leads us to the inevitable scene that the audience KNEW was going to happen. Val and Doc make their way back to the car only to find Hirsch has passed away. Can we get a movie where Alan Arkin doesn’t play dead after a small, but valuable role? [Swift aside, see Argo, David] Val and Doc then make their way to explain to Nina what happened. In a scene that is very far-fetched, and really somewhat hokey, the three find a backhoe and bury Hirsch next to his wife. Really, a backhoe in the cemetery, and they just dig a hole and throw him in? How does this make any sense in any way? This is basically where the movie has completely gone off the rails and is no longer fun. There is one scene in which Val is going to confession, but it’s too little too late at this point. I won’t spoil the end of the movie, and how everything plays out for those who want to see Stand Up Guys, but it’s easy to see why this movie was delayed in release and maybe you should delay seeing it until DVD.
I really was excited about seeing this movie, especially after seeing the trailer for it. Unfortunately, most of the good parts were in the trailer; and aside from a few humorous parts, it was a major letdown. If you’re a fan of Pacino, Walken, or Arkin, you may be disappointed. The fact all the jokes revolved around their ages, there were so many lines taken from other movies, and just parts that were confusing make this movie not live up to the potential it could have. The laughs in the first part of the movie truly don’t make up for all the flaws that were encountered throughout the whole thing. If you pay close attention you will see things that will leave you scratching your head too, and wondering what exactly were they going for in the scene. Overall, the acting was great, but too many flaws – - – just leave Stand Up Guys lying down.