Stand Up Guys Fisher Stevens

Stand Up Guys Fisher Stevens
7
It's undeniably fun to watch Christopher Walken and Al Pacino in top-notch form as they take a simple, elegiac script like Stand Up Guys and play around with it like it was a jungle gym. The loose, episodic structure provides plenty of room for the actors to stretch their legs, with the chemistry between the leads igniting the friendship between a couple of old hoods in their twilight years trying to relive their glory days for a night. When Val (Al Pacino) is released from prison after serving 28 years for a robbery gone bad, his best friend and former partner-in-crime, Doc (Christopher Walken), is there to meet him. Val attempts to let loose by dancing with a woman in a club and visiting a brothel run by a delightfully daffy Lucy Punch, but soon the specter hanging over both their heads is the fact that Doc has been ordered to kill Val by morning. Since the day Val accidentally killed the son of their boss, Claphands (Mark Margolis), in the crossfire of that ill-fated robbery, his fate's been sealed. This doesn't prevent the duo from stopping off at a retirement home to pick up their old getaway driver, Hirsch (Alan Arkin), and enjoying a meal or two at the restaurant where Doc's favourite waitress, Alex (Addison Timlin), works. A sequence in which they happen upon a battered young girl (Vanessa Ferlito) and enact vengeance upon her abusers strays a little too far from centre, but the interplay between the actors manages to keep the tone light. As dawn creeps inexorably closer and Val is forced to confront his mortality, both Pacino and Walken invest the characters with such a resigned sense of how time has passed them by that this can't help but feel a little more personal than many of their recent roles. The packaging is a bit hasty and haphazard, as the same interviews with the cast and crew are re-used for multiple mini-documentaries. Aside from having everyone answer the same boring question of what it means to be a "stand up guy," we also get a peek into the creative process of the film's composer, Jon Bon Jovi. While the behind-the-scenes clips and deleted scenes are few and relatively unspectacular, there's a pretty entertaining sequence of Pacino energetically cutting a rug on the dance floor that shows he's still got a few tricks up his sleeve. (eOne)