johnlink ranks STAND UP GUYS (2012)

Arkin. Pacino. Walken. That’s enough for me.


I watched STAND UP GUYS (2012) on 3.8.14. It was my first viewing of the film.

An unexpected downside of doing a blog wherein you write about every film you watch is that you find yourself not rewatching many things because you already wrote about any given movie. Every so often you see something with snappy dialogue and engaging characters which immediately make you want to see it again. Yet, sadly, you know you probably won’t because there is so much left to see. STAND UP GUYS is such a funny movie with snappy dialogue. It is not typical in structure and that works to its advantage. In an age of forgettable comedy, it is memorable.

Val (Al Pacino) is fresh out if prison. It is quickly established that his best friend Doc (Christopher Walken) is tasked with taking him out. After some newly freed escapades, they decide to spring their other cohort, Hirsch (Alan Arkin), from an old folks home. They get involved in a series of exciting events.

An old screenwriting adage (well, dating back to the Greeks if you want to get specific) says that you should resolve all your action in 24 hours. STAND UP GUYS doesn’t need quite that long. Instead, it is a single night in the lives of these aging men.

But these guys aren’t the only ones there. They free and let loose Sylvia (Vanessa Ferlito). They visit a brothel with a pimp (Lucy Punch) who offers more than anticipated. Most pertinently, there is a waitress (Addison Timlin) who both holds up with these veteran men and steals every scene she enters.

Ultimately, this is a film about friendship, loyalty, and duty. It considers these themes in a surprisingly humorous box. Arkin makes those around him funnier in the moments he gives, yet Walken and Pacino need no help. This is Pacino’s best role in ages. Walken nails this part as well. In an age of film which gave us the underwhelming RIGHTEOUS KILL, it is refreshing to see a few veterans do more than collect a paycheck. This is the type of film which might seem middling upon release, but which stands out as late career excellence.

I don’t often disagree so dramatically with the masses. But STAND UP GUYS is a movie which is much better than its IMDB score or its terrible Rotten Tomatoes score. Critics be damned, this is solid and joyful work. The ending may not satisfy all, but the important decision is in the choice not the result. STAND UP GUYS is really wonderful.





~ by johnlink00 on March 8, 2014.

6 Responses to “johnlink ranks STAND UP GUYS (2012)”

  1. I’ve been wanting to watch this for a while, mainly for the three leads. Based off a brief clip I saw on a late night talk show, I don’t know if I’ll actually like the movie, but I’m looking forward to giving it a shot.

  2. Well. That is the most positive review I have ever seen for this one.

    Should I ever see it, we’ll see if I agree. 🙂

  3. Good review John. These three all do what they can, but the material is so weak, obvious and poorly-written, that I just could not get past its crappiness. I’m sorry. I just couldn’t.

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