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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

THREE DAYS TO VEGAS -- movie review by porfle

Getting a bunch of wonderful old actors in the sunset of their careers together for a raucous comedy always sounds like a really fun idea.  And in THREE DAYS TO VEGAS (2007), it's fascinating to see just how hard this really fun idea can suck hamster titties.

Four old retired geezers--Fitzy (Peter Falk), Joe (Rip Torn), Dominic (George Segal), and Marvin (Bill Cobbs)--take off in a private tour bus from Miami Beach to Las Vegas to try and stop the marriage of Fitzy's whiny daughter Elizabeth (Nancy Young) to some wimpy French vegan that Fitzy doesn't like.  Elizabeth's irresponsible ex-boyfriend Billy (Billy Burke) comes along because he still loves her, and because he loves to hang out with the old guys, who like this shiftless loser for some reason I never could quite fathom. 

Taking time out for fun along the way, they repeatedly show us how hilarious it is to see a bunch of old guys walking through nudie bars with huge dopey grins on their faces as though they've never seen nekkid girls before, and how cute it is when those girls start hanging all over them for some damn reason.  When they stop over to visit Marvin's famous rapper nephew, The Flow (Coolio), it's so funny because these hip geezers actually "dig" the rap "groove" and are "into" it!

Oh yeah, and during the trip their funny-gay driver Antoine (Taylor Negron) runs off with his new funny-gay boyfriend Chris (Mario Cantone) and they become a funny-gay Thelma and Louise.  Please note that the word "funny" in this context does not denote "funny ha-ha."  Of course, Taylor Negron is a fine character actor from way back--he was Mr. Milo in THE LAST BOY SCOUT, for Pete's sake--and Mario Cantone is one of my favorite stand-up comics.  So what the hell's happened to these guys?  Are they this desperate?  Are scary loan sharks after them?

But that's nothing compared to the spectacle of seeing some of the finest actors of their generation burlesking it up like a bunch of doddering old goons.  (At least the late Ossie Davis, who died during filming and was replaced by Bill Cobbs, wasn't stuck with this turkey as his final screen credit.)  All four of the leads have done great work with much better directors, yet they seem to enjoy embarrassing themselves in this flatulent mess.  I guess getting to have some fun in Miami and Vegas and hanging out with a bunch of scantily-clad babes was worth dicking around on a doomed movie set for awhile.   

It certainly wasn't the script that attracted them, because not only is it incredibly stupid, but there aren't any actual jokes or funny lines in it.  Each subplot is directed as though it were a different movie, and they're all bad.  Cute camera effects are used to distract us from the awful photography and editing, while a different style of ear-piercing music blares out at us relentlessly during each scene to emphasize how utterly devoid of substance the whole thing is.

Not since FORGET ABOUT IT with Burt Reynolds, Charles Durning, and Robert Loggia have I seen a group of respectable older actors so flagrantly misused in such an amateurish nightmare of unfunny.  Just because movies like TOUGH GUYS (Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster as elderly gangsters) and GRUMPY OLD MEN (Matthau and Lemmon as an elderly odd couple) worked doesn't mean old guys plus comedy is a sure-fire formula.  You also need a script that doesn't suck.  I repeat--doesn't suck.  Why is that so hard to understand?

Buy it at
Widescreen Edition DVD

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