Al Pacino gets out of jail after a long stint, to be picked up by his only friend, Christopher Walken, who’s also contracted (after a fashion) to kill him. Over the course of 24 hours, they reminisce, party, fight, eat (and eat and eat), burgle, steal cars, rescue a girl, and save their old wheelman Alan Arkin from a boring nursing home.
What’s not to love?
Well, a lot according to the negative Rotten Tomatoes critical reviews and the tepid audience reactions. At least one person in our audience didn’t like it—but quite a few of the others applauded!
I went into it warily, and warned the kids not to expect much. And we all enjoyed the heck out of it.
The Boy spotted a bit of The Man Who Shook The Hand Of Vicente Fernandez, in that the early dialogue is halting, and a little awkward, like maybe they’re trying to remember lines. I don’t know how much of it was that, how much was director Fisher Stevens giving Walken his head, and how much was sloppy editing (often a bane of low budget films).
It didn’t bother me because the scene is supposed to be awkward. Walken is struggling with killing a guy for something that happened 25 years ago—that the guy didn’t even do. Sure, Pacino is obnoxious, crude and insulting, but he’s a stand-up guy.
Despite the gangster angle, this is basically an updated version of 1979’s Going In Style, where George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg decide to hold up a bank. It’s also in the “continuous timeframe” genre, taking place in about a 24-hour period where the characters don’t sleep.
The supporting cast is good, with Julianna Margulies as Arkin’s daughter, Mark Margolis as the gangster who wants revenge, Vanessa Ferlito as the wronged hooker, and Lucy Punch as an accommodating madam who gets more than she bargains for.
I dunno. It was just fun. I wasn’t inclined to clap at the end, but I didn’t feel the urge to walk out either. Your mileage may vary, of course.