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Ok so I think there is a new genre out there: geezer flicks. First there was “Last Vegas,” and now comes “Grudge Match.” Both star Robert De Niro – is this his new niche? – I hope not. First let me say that Robert De Niro is one of the greatest all-time actors, and at 70 years old, his role choices may be decreasing. But he IS getting some good roles in some good films, so why he chose to be in these two, is beyond me. OK, they’re good films: well-crafted, helmed by good directors and writers, and, of course, well acted. They are just so average and formulaic.

“Last Vegas” has to do with four old guys getting together in Las Vegas – a sort of reunion – for the wedding of one of the four (Michael Douglas). Now there is a long-standing rift between him and one of the pals (De Niro), and it involves a lady. “Grudge Match” revolves around a long-standing rift between two ex-boxers (Sylvester Stallone and Robert De Niro) from 30 years ago, and besides their boxing history, it involves a lady (Kim Basinger). Sprinkled throughout both is crass humor (some of it kind of creepy coming from “grandpas,” if you know what I mean), and subplots involving the guys’ kids.

So did I laugh and enjoy myself during both films? Yes, I did. You can easily turn off the brain and sit back and enjoy watching these icons of the screen have fun. And so maybe that is the reason for these films indeed.

Highlights: Morgan Freeman is always a joy to watch, and he is having one helluva good time in “Last Vegas.” And the same can be said for Kevin Kline as the fourth buddy in “Last Vegas.” These two are ready to party. And Mary Steenburgen pulls off one fine acting job in “Last Vegas.” She actually rises about the material and puts in a standout performance. In “Grudge Match,” how can you not like watching Stallone and De Niro trade jabs (both physical and in the acting sense)? I had to wince a little bit at the tender love moment (not a love scene!) between Stallone and the love interest Sally (Kim Basinger), and why they get involved in an automobile mishap is beyond me… It is good to see Ms. Basinger on the screen and eating up this role – another highlight. Kevin Hart – funny. And keep an eye on Jon Bernthal as DeNiro’s son –  he does a stellar job in the role and keeps up with De Niro just fine.

So like I said, if you want to turn off the brain and unwind and escape for a couple of hours, you can’t go wrong with these Geezer flicks. Just be prepared for the crass humor (especially in “Grudge Match” from Alan Arkin – although another highlight of the film, for sure, is watching him work.) What next? Maybe a remake of “Tough Guys?”


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