Stand Up Guys
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, Alan Arkin
Directed by Fisher Stevens
Some actors don't need top-shelf material. Just the pleasure of their company is enough. And so Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin turn the insubstantial Stand Up Guys into solid entertainment. Just watching them riff off one another like a prized jazz combo is a kick. There's Pacino as Val, released from prison after 28 years, but still a target of crime lord Claphands (Mark Margolis), who blames Val for a botched job that killed his son. Claphands sends Doc (Walken) to pop a cap in Val's ass. But Doc, an old crime buddy of Val's and in his debt for an uncollected favor, is reluctant to pull the trigger. He treats Val to a night in a whorehouse that, of course, requires Viagra (insert cringe). Saving Val requires a meet-up with Hirsch (Arkin), their former getaway driver. Director Fisher Stevens dances ably around the holes in the script by Noah Haidle, but there's no need. Not with these guys around. Arkin is a master of the slow burn. Pacino shows off shamelessly. And Walken's deadpan is a constant delight. "What?" he says when Val expresses dismay at hitman Doc's newly quiet life. "I got cable." Priceless.
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