Good, Bad & Ugly Review: Stand Up Guys

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43% (Critics) / 94% (Audience)
Directed By: Fisher Stevens
Written By: Noah Haidle
Starring: Al Pacino, Alan Arkin, Christopher Walken and Juliana Margulies
Studio: Lionsgate

Synopsis: A pair of aging con men try to get the old gang back together for one last hurrah before one of the guys takes his last assignment — to kill his comrade.

The Good:
Al Pacino and Christopher Walken had a really nice chemistry and were very believable as long time friends. The realism of their affection for one another was what made most of the events in the film have any emotional punch at all. Alan Arkin was a stand-out too in his supporting role as the third member of Pacino and Walken’s crew. The hijinks that the old buddies get into were both humorous and heartfelt.
This was also the first time in a long time that Al Pacino was not playing some aspect of the character from Scent of a Woman…for a while now he has been basically replicating that performance in movies so seeing him actually act was very welcome.
I also loved the way the movie ended.

The Bad:
The bad guy of the film was a mobster who we were supposed to believe had the power to strike fear in other criminals and bully people into doing things they didn’t want to for fear of his retribution but what was shown on the screen was not in line with that at all. The mobster, Claphands (played by Mark Margolis), just seemed like a grumpy old man with some disposable income but not scary at all.
At times it felt like a TV sitcom in the way events and plots came and went.

The Ugly:
I don’t get why the folks behind this film would cast Juliana Margulies and then not use her for much. She is a really good actress and she was wasted in this film. The same goes for Lucy Punch; I enjoyed her brief time onscreen but it was a very small part that didn’t take advantage of her talent at all.

Final Verdict: An enjoyable little movie featuring three of the best elder statesmen Hollywood has to offer and all three of them showed that they are not quite ready to be put out to pasture just yet. Aside from some plot contrivances and misuse of talent, Stand Up Guys was an enjoyable movie and well worth the watch. B-

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