Sam Bauman: ‘Last Vegas’ is a geriatric — and better — version of ‘Hangover’

Most Hollywood movies these days are aimed at the younger set — those who delight in computer-generated explosions, space epics, teen love. It’s rare that a film comes to town that is pretty well-aimed at the senior set.

Most of the leads in “Last Vegas,” currently playing at the Fandango Galaxy cineplex in Carson City, qualify as seniors and longtime screen favorites. And while the movie does dredge up many old senior jokes, it’s a perfect movie for this time of year.

This is a warm, witty and satisfying film for all ages, but it hits seniors where we live.

It may not feature the Las Vegas that some of us know, but the veteran cast — Michael Douglas as playboy Billy; Robert De Niro as Paddy the widower; Morgan Freeman as Archie, a minor-stroke survivor escaping from home; Kevin Kline as Sam, out on a long leash from his wife — make this film directed by Jon Turteltaub an enjoyable outing, They are greatly abetted by co-star Mary Steenburgen as a tax lawyer who fled to Vegas because she wanted to sing in a Vegas bar. She more than meets the challenge for the big four with a twisted smile and a nice singing voice.

This is the movie “Hangover,” which was pretty bad, remade for the geriatric.

The story involves 70-year-old Billy getting set to marry his “almost 32” live-in girlfriend, and he wants his best buddies to join him in Vegas. All except for Paddy; Billy didn’t make it to Paddy’s wife’s funeral, and it’s a sore spot for both of them. But the other two drag Paddy in for the bachelor party blast.

There are lots of jokes about aging, some of them a bit painful, but it all works out nicely with a twist on the finish that is cheering. All four leads do their usual professional jobs, with perhaps Kline surprisingly getting some of the best lines. Steenburgen brings a youthful slant that is charming. Where has she been lately?

For audiences of all ages, this is fun stuff without the junk of “Hangover.” For seniors, it’s a wonderful fantasy that encourages them to live life to its zenith.

Heading off Alzheimer’s disease

Dr. Marwan Sabbagh offered some tips to reducing the risk on contacting Alzheimer’s in a recent issue of Bottom Line Personal magazine. Here is some of her advice:

• Check for inorganic copper in you water supply. Tests have shown that small amounts of inorganic copper with a high-fat diet can result in memory loss and mental decline. Look for a mineral supplement with 500 or less micrograms of such copper.

• Vitamin D deficiency may increase the big A’s chances. Have your doctor check your blood level of vitamin D. You may need to take vitamin supplements.

• Former professional football players have a four-times-greater risk of Alzheimer’s than others. Concussions are blamed for this, and the NFL recently awarded more than $700 million to the more than 4,000 players who sued. Some of us suffer concussions from falls, and your risk of Alzheimer’s is more than doubled if you ever had a serious concussion. Fall-proof your home by using good lighting, securing throw rugs and keeping stairways clear.

If you are buying new ski gear, don’t forget about the helmet. Falls are common in skiing. The modern helmets are light, fit well and are a good investment at $125 or more.

Sam Bauman writes about senior issues for the Nevada Appeal.


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