Aging stars, tired jokes give ‘Stand Up Guys’ a stale flavor

Contributed
Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin and Al Pacino in ‘Stand Up Guys.’ Rated R, 94 min. Lionsgate, 2013.

In “Stand Up Guys” – a meditation on aging disguised as a comedic crime caper – Al Pacino and Christopher Walken seem to make a strong case for their own retirement, or at least their need for a little reinvention. The pair plays old friends and tough criminals of an unspecified variety. Both know that one is tasked with killing the other, so they choose to make the most of their remaining time together.

Along the way they pick up their ailing buddy (Alan Arkin) for a last joyride involving a flashy stolen car, steaks, and a brothel, as the film devolves into a bunch of half-hearted jokes about Viagra, blood pressure and oxygen masks. It’s like watching what may have happened if “The Sopranos” had gone on for another 25 creaky years.

Luckily, Pacino and Walken both have such unique speech patterns and performance styles that it’s somehow still interesting – almost hypnotic – just to watch them talk in a restaurant booth.

Julianna Marguiles, Lucy Punch and Vanessa Ferlito all have small and unrewarding one-note roles. Plot holes and questions abound (such as, why don’t they all just get out of town?), and convincing answers are never offered.

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