Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin come together to star in Stand Up Guys. The story about a trio of old-time hoods revolves mainly around Doc (Walken) and Val (Pacino).
Val’s been doing time for an accidental killing for the last 28 years and it’s his old friend and literal partner-in-crime Doc who greets him for his release.
They then head off for a night of fun, hi-jinx and a pile of reminiscing and regrets picking up the third piece of their hey-day trio, Hirsch (Arkin), along the way.
The best word I can think of to describe the film is droll. Unfortunately dull also comes to mind. What we get here are three amazing actors who very much seem like they’d really rather be somewhere else—most notably Walken. I love Christopher Walken but I’ve never watched him act so disinterested before. Pacino gets a few choice moments but not enough. Poor Alan Arkin seems almost entirely like an afterthought. It’s a totally forgettable character which makes you wonder why Arkin would bother. The only thing I can surmise is that we simply jumped at the opportunity to work with two otherwise-incredible talents regardless of the vehicle.
There’s also a surprise performance from Julianna Margulies playing Hirsh’s daughter. The surprise is that, like Arkin’s character, she’s entirely wasted and forgettable. Faring only slightly better is the actress portraying the waitress at Doc’s favorite diner—Addison Timlin. At least her work feels essential to story. Lastly, there’s Mark Margolis (a great character actor) playing the crotchety old crime boss.
The first 90% of the film feels like one long flat monologue. The final 10% is marginally interesting but also entirely eye-rolling.
It’s a pity that these icons of acting couldn’t be packaged into anything better. In fact it’s a crime more compelling than any portrayed herein.