After serving a 28 year sentence, Val (Al Pacino) gets released from prison, and his friend and long serving partner-in-crime, Doc (Christopher Walken), is there to meet him. However, the local Mob boss wants Val dead after years of blaming him for his son’s death, and he has named Doc as the man who needs to do the job, and by ten o’clock the next morning. After 28 years inside, Val is in the mood for a party. The boys’ first call is a local brothel, then they move onto a nightclub. After discovering another of their old friends is in a care home, the unruly OAPs decide to break him out. The sun rises on the men who have made the decision to grow old disgracefully, and it seems that Val is determined not to go down without a fight.
It appears to me that I may stand with the minority group of people who actually really enjoyed Stand Up Guys. I won’t state the obvious and say why I decided to watch it (although the fact that Pacino starred in it should be a big enough hint), but I’ll just say that I’m glad I did, for a couple of reasons. I was genuinely and pleasantly surprised by the whole thing – it was panned by the critics and I seriously thought it was going to be about a bunch of down-and-out comedians. Stand Up Guys was also very, VERY funny. It was clearly just the sort of thing that matched my sense of humour, but my God, didn’t I laugh!
The main reason I was probably so open to watching Stand Up Guys was because Mr P was in it. I’ll put my hands up now and admit that he was more than likely why I found it all so funny as well. It probably sounds strange, but just think Pacino is a really funny man. He has said in the past that people don’t believe him when he says he started out in stand-up comedy – I believe him. He has had me in tears in some of his performances and interviews – check out the time he spoke to the SAG Foundation. I was screaming at some of the stories he had to tell! Pacino brought that charm to the role of Val, and I couldn’t stop laughing at some points.
I loved Christopher Walken in his role as well. I don’t really know how to describe the part he played, all I know is that whatever he did worked. It might have been something to do with the dead pan look he had on his face at som many points throughout the film, and also the sheer ridiculousness of the situation he found himself in. But above all, his partnership with Pacino was just brilliant.
Contrary to common opinion, I think the whole thing was wonderful. There are most certainly films out there that offer slightly more ground-breaking content and ideas, but for so many to slate Stand Up Guys to the extent they did is a tad unfair I think. It had an amazing comedy partnership who did the funny bits in a way that I believe would stand a very good chance of being funny if I watched the film again, which I think is where the magic lies with comedies – can the gags always be funny, or will they get old? I suppose time will tell, but I’m pretty sure I’d laugh at some points a second time.
Basically, I would urge you not to be put off by some of the frankly snobbish reviews Stand Up Guys has received. I thought it to be more than watchable, and I wouldn’t turn my nose up to seeing it again.