18 Movie Reviews in 18 Days #9: Stand Up Guys

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It’s not like I didn’t know what I was getting into when I selected Stand Up Guys from my Amazon Prime queue. It’s a movie with Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin and it was made in 2012. This was most definitely an old-tough-guy-dick-joke movie.

To be honest, the reason I chose to watch it in the first place was that Julianna Margulies is listed on Amazon Prime as being the director. Being a big fan of her, I thought it was exciting that she was directing. Instead, it turns out that she’s actually just in the movie seemingly playing a version of her character from ER.

As old-touch-guy-dick-joke movies go, Stand Up Guys isn’t bad. Pacino’s character gets out of prison after serving 28 years. Christopher Walken picks him up in classic Blues Brothers fashion. And hijinks ensue.

It’s certainly entertaining watching these guys together, but for the majority of the movie it seems like the movie can’t decide if it’s trying to be funny or trying to be serious so it fails at being either. Luckily, the cast is so strong that I tended to ignore the failings of the script or tone.

Though he’s billed as one of the main guys, unfortunately Alan Arkin isn’t in it very much. The bright side is that this gives Walken and Pacino a chance to chew the scenery. Really, watching these two guys in anything is fun, even if Al Pacino is spending most of his time talking about the effects of Viagra.

Stand Up Guys is directed by Fisher Stevens. He’s an accomplished actor but this is only his second feature film directing and it shows. There were moments in the movie that I wasn’t sure if it was trying to be funny or not. The film tries to walk the line between serious and silly but too often swerves to the silly. Walken can easily be funny. Pacino is an amazing actor, but comedy just doesn’t come as naturally to him.

This is writer Noah Haidle’s first feature screenplay. He lucked out in that he has a good cast, but the script would have benefitted from additional rewrites.

I can’t say I was all that disappointed with Stand Up Guys though. It certainly has its faults, but it’s an old-tough-guy-dick-joke movie and I knew that before I started watching it.

Stand Up Guys is available on Netflix and Amazon Prime or you can purchase it at this link.

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