By Skip Sheffield
Three old pros team with young actor-director Fisher Stevens and novice screenwriter Noah Haidle for the crazy crime caper comedy “Stand Up Guys.”
Al Pacino is one “stand up guy” named Val. Christopher Walken is his best buddy Doc. Alan Arkin is their former wheel man, Richard Hirsch. The trio was a team of lower-level criminals before a bust 30-odd years ago. Val took the fall for the gang rather than ratting them out, and for his silence he was rewarded with a 28-year stretch in the penitentiary.
Doc picks up Val from the slammer. They go to Doc’s crummy apartment and Doc insists they need a big night on the town. Unbeknownst to Val, Doc is under orders to liquidate Val from the vengeful local crime boss Claphands (Mark Margolis), whose son Val rubbed out. The deadline is 10 a.m. the next morning, or terrible things will happen to Doc and his innocent granddaughter (Addison Timlin).
So the guys head for a night of Viagra, hookers, dancing and booze, springing their old driver Hirsch (Alan Arkin) from a nursing home in the process. To demonstrate how preposterous the story is, the guys handily steal a new Dodge Challenger, which Hirsch drives like Mario Andretti despite having been hooked up to oxygen moments before. Then they set off on a merry chase pursued by half theLos AngelesPolice force, eluding them handily, and then continuing the spree as if nothing had happened, never to be bothered by the cops again.
Alan Arkin could make the Real Yellow Pages funny, but sadly his part amounts to only a cameo. After all the old guy jokes peter out, we are left with Val, Doc and the inevitable showdown.
Even at their level of fame and acclaim, maybe actors the caliber of Pacino, Walken and Arkin crave the work regardless of the script. Maybe they just need the money. Whatever the reason, you should save your money- unless you get a kick out of seeing great actors slumming.