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02/14/2013 12:19 pm ET Updated Apr 16, 2013

Popcorn Preview: Stand Up Guys

Film: Stand Up Guys (2012)
Cast includes: Al Pacino (The Merchant of Venice), Christopher Walken (Catch Me If You Can), Alan Arkin (Argo), Lucy Punch (You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger), Vanessa Ferlito (25th Hour), Addison Timlin (Derailed), Mark Margolis (Breaking Bad)
Noah Haidle (First feature film)
Director: Fisher Stevens (Awake)
Genre: Comedy | Crime (90 minutes)

"You look like shit," says Val when he sees Doc. "You look worse," Doc counters. "Yeah." Val can't argue with that. He's just being released from prison after 28 years. The two old friends greet each other outside the prison gate with a hug. "Did that just get weird?" Yeah, kind of! Anyway, they go back to Doc's place because Val's going to be camping out on the sofa for now. "This is the worst apartment I've ever seen," says Val. "It's mine... I've got cable TV," says Doc in defense of his shitty little apartment. "Well, I had Starz and Showtime, and I was in lockdown." Val and Doc have a lot of history together, along with the third musketeer, Hirsch, who's now at Lighthouse nursing home. So it's a little surprising when we notice the gun Doc is hiding. Can it be that Doc's planning to shoot Val? "I could use a cup of coffee," says Val. "It's your day," says doc. So they go to Doc's favorite coffee shop and it's easy to see why Doc comes here everyday. The waitress is a real sweetheart, and she's got a sweet spot for Doc. But Val soon wants more than just coffee. He wants to party. Party? A foreign concept to Doc lately, who leads a quiet life... painting sunrises, watching TV, eating right...

At Miss Dee's, Val has performance issues, and they're totally out of boner pills. Falling back on old skills, the pair break into a pharmacy, where Val gets a good helping of boner pills and Doc helps himself to all his regular meds. "The copay is insane." When Doc calls Claphands to saying "I can't do what you need me to do," Claphands says he has until 10:00 the next morning to "deliver the package," or else! From what Doc can tell, Val has no idea that he's in danger until Val suddenly asks, "So who's gonna do it?" "Do what?" "It's you, isn't it?" Turns out that when Val got sent to prison, he looked over his shoulder for the first few years, until he realized that Claphands was going to let him serve every damn day of his sentence... only to kill him when he got out. The bottom line is that it's 1:17, and Doc has until 10:00 to "deliver the package." That leaves almost 9 hours... "Our friend needs to be rescued from the Lighthouse," says Val.

"This isn't a good idea," cautions Doc. But Val has no concept of caution. When the three musketeers are finally reunited, it's like the old days... they're ready to live it up and their criminal skills sure come in handy. At one point Val thinks it would be a good idea to go to confession. To save time, he only confesses his sins of today... a pretty long list. But in all fairness, he's done a few good things, too. The end of this movie isn't altogether unexpected, but it's a fun ride. Each of the three stand-up guys is a movie icon, and the script (by a newcomer) is wonderfully in sync with each actor's persona. While the movie is constantly punctuated with chuckle lines, few of the gags would be funny if they weren't so right for each actor. The acting is great and Stand Up Guys has a lot of charm.

2 popped kernels (Scale: 0-4)
Old criminals are reunited for a last fling... before one has to shoot the other

Popcorn Profile
Rated: R (Language, sexual content, crime)
Audience: Grown-ups
Distribution: Mainstream limited release
Mood: Upbeat
Tempo: Cruises comfortably
Visual Style: Nicely varnished realism
Character Development: Engaging
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Pure entertainment & Thought provoking

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