By Shane M. Dallmann
For the past twenty-eight years, Al Pacino has quietly done his time for his role in a shootout that accidentally cost the life of the son of an unforgiving mob boss. He’s a “stand up guy.” But now he’s been released, and his best friend Christopher Walken is there to welcome him back to the outside world. Walken, however, is under orders to kill Pacino by the next morning. But Pacino has already figured that much out for himself. So, friend, what shall we do with the rest of the night? For one thing, let’s spring our “driver” buddy Alan Arkin from the nursing home! He’s still got it!
Never mind the latest string of 80’s action revival movies with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis… you want REAL “old school?” Here you go. Without a prayer of even cracking the Top Ten, the veterans do the town proud. There’s plenty of loving character comedy (and even rude sight gags… wait till you see what happens when Pacino downs a fistful of Viagra, for instance). There’s the occasional burst of violence, but this is by no means a gory “action movie.” And there’s plenty of backup from the ladies who accompany the various escapades: Lucy Punch is a riot as the new proprietor of the local “house of ill repute,” Juliana Marguiles is the nurse who just happens to be the daughter of the Arkin character; Addison Timlin is wonderful as Walken’s favorite waitress (the restaurant is a frequent stop at all hours); and Vanessa Ferlito (DEATH PROOF) shows up in a most unlikely place for her own little adventure in justice.
Despite their criminal histories, you can’t help but like the old fellows, so of course you dread the rising of the sun and the inevitable hour of reckoning. But it has to happen. And when it does, STAND UP GUYS delivers as perfect a finale as you could hope for.
The film was directed by Fisher Stevens, an actor I’ll always associate with the SHORT CIRCUIT movies (“Am I making myself completely transparent to you, Number Johnny Five?”). He should be behind the camera a lot more often.