Stand Up Guys - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Stand Up Guys Reviews

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Super Reviewer
½ October 22, 2013
A coupla guys who've seen a mob movie or two return to the form one more time in this sort of bucket list for mob guys movie. And what do mob guys want at the end of the road? One more job together again, natcherly. Pacino, Walkin & Arkin are old hands at this, and so raise what might've been a banal and cheesy offering to sort of a cool night at the bowling alley with some oldtimers. Some classy oldtimers. Take a selfie with them.
Super Reviewer
September 10, 2014
The star is for Christopher Walken, who really commits to this turdburger of a movie and makes Al Pacino look just as washed-up as I've long refused to admit he is. Skip this one, blecch.
Super Reviewer
March 23, 2014
A hit-man must kill his ex-partner, who has just been released from prison, but first they go on one last evening of entertainment.
Christopher Walken, who has discovered his sensitive side in his later years, and Al Pacino are great together, and I can only wish that they unite for a better story than this one. Uneven in tone and genre, the film is best described as Grumpy Old Men meets Carlito's Way, and those two films don't mix well. Alan Arkin, forever sardonic, is hilarious but miscast, only adding to the comedic milieu, until we're supposed to take the film seriously.
Overall, though I'm happy to see good actors giving good performances, even the best actors need a script.
Super Reviewer
½ February 19, 2013
Val: They say we die twice. Once when the breath leaves our body, and once when the last person we know says our name.

"They don't make em like they used to."

I guess I don't see why this film was so heavily criticized. Stand Up Guys is exactly what it advertised itself to be, nothing more than a star driven film. Sure Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin look like they should have died ten years ago, but they make this film a lot of fun. It's predictable, as the story of old friends getting together one last time isn't exactly a new idea; but the stars make this movie an extremely fun time.

Val is just out of prison where he has been for 28 years. Doc, his best friend picks him up and they hang out for awhile. We learn that Val was in prison for the murder of their former bosses son which was an accident that happened during a job. Doc is supposed to kill Val before 10 am the next day or he will be killed too. So the two enjoy Val's last night on earth by robbing a pharmacy, going to a brothel, and committing some other various crimes. They brake their other friend and former partner out of a retirement home and they do one last job together.

This all goes in a predictable fashion and you see every turn coming. The ending will only surprise those who have never seen a movie before and even most people who haven't would still see it coming. In the end, the story, the predictability, all of that really doesn't matter. This is Pacino's and Walken's movie to carry and they do so beautifully. It's a hell of a good time. 

Stand Up Guys is definitely worth the watch, especially for fans of Pacino and Walken, and even Arkin to a degree, although he isn't as big a part of it as the other two. Ignore the criticism and just know that the story isn't breaking new ground and you should be able to enjoy yourself with this one.
Super Reviewer
½ December 7, 2012
Oh what a joy it is to see three titans from the New Hollywood movement team up for a crime dramedy.

Al Pacino plays Val- a career criminal who, as the film starts has just been released after serving a 28 year sentence for refusing to give up an associate. He's picked up by longtime associate Doc (Christopher Walken) who is there to help reintegrate into society. During the revelry they hook up with another associate, Hirsch (Alan Arkin), but, while they let the good times roll, the proceedings are darkened by the fact that one of them has a deadly secret, and has a limited time to deal with a serious situation.

This film is steeped in nostalgia, and, while some of the jokes and situations are a bit stale (the old age jokes especially are kinda groan-worthy), this is nevertheless a fun and breezy romp with some talented thespians there to make it all worthwhile.

Besides the three 70s cinema titans, all of whom deliver solid work (even though Arkin gets underused), the cast also features Julianna Margulies, Vanessa Ferlito, Lucy Punch, and Mark Margolis, all of whom likewise deliver some passable work.

The main focus however, is on the relationship between Val and Doc, and how they attempt to capture and confront the past, as well as figure out how to navigate the future. Even though there is the dramatic undercurrent with the fatal secret angle, this film finds a good balance, and proves to be quite entertaining.

Some of the stuff with Hirsch is a bit rushed and undercooked, but overall things pans out fairly well. The ending takes the Butch Cassidy route, and, while it may seem sudden, I think it was probably the best way to handle things.

All in all, this is pretty okay. It's not amazing or particularly fresh, but I thought it was decent and far better than it could have been, so I say give it a look.
Super Reviewer
May 19, 2013
I think these three actors are among the best in the business, so I expected more. The plot was weak, and the laughs were few. These actors could have done so much more. Not an awful movie, just nothing special.
Super Reviewer
½ June 28, 2013
I think you need to be around 70 years of age to really enjoy this Movie. I'm Not and I did; I really did. I chuckled and laughed throughout the movie and continued to do so long into the evening as I remembered some of the more memorable scenes. This is a gem of a Movie and brings back a touch of the real movies of yesteryear. No Vampires ; no Zombies; no computer designed sets and monsters, no excruciatingly LOUD music and noises; just a simple story well told with real ACTORS. I could have sat through it again as soon as it was over....and I may go again. Some of these "Critics" need to age a bit to really understand the difference that a Movie like this can bring to its audience. 3 1/2 stars 6-18-13
Super Reviewer
½ December 12, 2012
The movie was a bit dry but I liked it. The cast is the best part of this movie. I mean you have three of the best; Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin starring together. You can't go wrong with this cast. The movie in itself could have been better. But still, I enjoyed it. I liked the humor and the relationship between Val and Doc. It was so sweet and funny. Hirsch was a lot of fun and was in some of my favorite scenes from the movie. I wish he was in it more.
Super Reviewer
October 6, 2012
A cool, fresh, stylish, thrilling and very original movie. It's solid entertainment that is sure-fire fun from start to finish. A touching, funny, terrifically character driven and near-perfect film. A total blast of a comedy. A true movie pleasure that's nothing but a good-time with a great soundtrack, a wonderful script, solid direction and top-notch performances from it's three brilliant leads. It hits the jack-pot and delivers nothing but the goods. A superbly entertaining and wonderfully engaging movie. One of the best movies of 2013 by far. Al Pacino, Christopher Walken and Alan Arkin are absolutely magnificent, they have great chemistry. Watching these guys together is nothing but sheer joy. Pacino is sensational, he still has the goods. Walken is terrific. Arkin is hilarious. These three give some of their best performances in years. I absolutely loved this movie. It packs a full-clip of heart, humor and fire-power. I haven't enjoyed myself this much at the movies in sometime, just goes to show the old-timers still got it and can still make us smile. It's old-school attitude with a sense of humor. Movies don't get anymore enjoyable than this. Director, Fisher Stevens crafts a wonderful film filled with great characters, exciting moments, even funnier moments and is just a flat-out gem.
Markus Emilio Robinson
Super Reviewer
½ February 6, 2013
In the first film of 2013 worse than "Movie 43", "Stand Up Guys", which contains a rather intriguing premise, is absolutely ruined by a perfect storm of tonally clunky direction, a script filled with some of the stupidest dialogue (I swear, some of the lines here are out-and-out plagiarized) and a wealth of surprisingly terrible acting from Al Pacino, Alan Arkin and Christopher Walken; not to mention, Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher) doing one of her worst accents yet.

The Plot: In yet another elderly "let's get the band back together" storyline, Pacino and Walken (who each play annoying versions of themselves) are a couple of aging hit-man types that go by the names Val and Doc; who also happen to be best friends. The movie begins on the afternoon that they reunite, after Val is released from a long stint in prison. But when Doc's promise to Val of a night out he won't soon forget, coincides with Val learning that a hit has been put on him, he quickly realizes that Doc's motives may not be all that they seem.

The entire tone of "Stand Up Guys" is in fact its own worst enemy. Beneath this dark storyline, there lies a slew of underdeveloped and rather generic slapstick sequences, mostly between Pacino and Walken, which seems more suitable to a "comedy" such as "Old Dogs" or "Wild Hogs". But far worse than having to hear a barrage of "I don't know how to work this new fangled computer" or countless prescription drug jokes, is having to sit through the multitude of humorless and disturbing erectile dysfunction bits, which seem to be the ONLY driving force of the first two meandering acts of this movie. OK, so if you don't see the problem with this, then let me spell it out for you. If you're going to make "Grumpy Old Men", make "Grumpy Old Men". And if you're going to make a crime drama concerning a hit-man that is ordered to kill his best friend, then make that movie. But by attempting to haphazardly mash these two types of very distinctive films together, all the filmmakers have done is created a movie where essentially the poor comedic humor cancels out all dramatic effect, and vice versa. In short, the tone is the reason (above all others) that we don't care about any of these characters.

Suffice to say, Pacino's erection sadly motivates the first half of the story, but after about 45 minutes there stems a very compelling initial diner sequence, which fooled even me into thinking that this movie was officially going to start getting good. Well that was short lived because soon afterwards Arkin's character makes his first appearance and "Stand Up Guys" ventures into non-sense land, crashing and burning in a wreckage of cringe inducing one-liners, unfathomably impractical situations and asinine revelations, resulting in something that is simply downright pathetic.

The Acting: So when I made mention that "Stand Up Guys" contains terrible performances, this in fact may be the understatement of the decade. Yes, it doesn't help that Pacino can hardly move anymore or that Arkin and Walken continue to play caricatures of themselves, or even how each one of these actors very particular voice cadences gets in the way of any sentimentality "Stand Up Guys" should have had, but at the end of the day, no real excuse can be made for performances which come across as though each actor is reading this script for the first time. Plus, it has come to my attention (through this film and "Seven Psychopaths") that anytime Christopher Walken isn't reciting his lines for ironic laughs, he is literally unbearable to watch or listen to.

Final Thought: And if all of that weren't bad enough, "Stand Up Guys" contains the worst ending of any film this year (so far). But on the other hand, maybe this movie was meant to be a satirical piece of filmmaking, promoting, through subtle yet methodical means, director Fisher Stevens' backhanded theory on how Pacino, Arkin and Walken should be ushered out of the business by any means necessary (short of shooting them all in the heads). If that's the case, then "Stand Up Guys" is still a bad movie.

Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland

Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus
Super Reviewer
½ January 21, 2013
Decent movie, if nothing really special. Expected mor from Pacino, but seemed to just be cruising through the film and looks well past his sell by date. Walken however seem to be getting better with age. His odd style works so much better now as an old man, this and the excellent Seven Psychopaths are some of his best work for a long time. More Walken, less Pacino seems to be the way forward.
Super Reviewer
January 20, 2013
Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin are all 3 Oscar winners, and three of the best actors ever. You would think that mob dramady with them would be good, but instead you just get a boring movie with a couple good moments. Val(Pacino) is released from prison after 28 years and reunites with his best friend Doc(Walken) and later Hirsch(Arkin). They were best friends and criminals and now one of them has been assigned a job by a mob boss that they don't want to do. They have til sunrise and then things come to a head. The story could have been better and other than Arkin, all the actors look like they don't care or want to be there. It's not very funny, and the dramatic moments don't care any weight because you just don't really have any reason to care for the characters. Fans of the three actors should give it a watch, but just know it's no where near their best, but not quite their worst.
Super Reviewer
½ December 13, 2014
"Stand Up Guys" starts with Val(Al Pacino) being released from prison after 28 years, where he is met by his best friend Doc(Christopher Walken). Whereas Doc may never stab his friend in the back, he may have to shoot him, under orders from Claphands(Mark Margolis). But first Doc takes his friend to get laid and introduces him to viagra.

"Stand Up Guys" is a better movie than I was expecting and not as good as it could have been. For example, there is a scene in a cemetery that makes absolutely no sense but still works. In any case, it is always fun watching a couple of old pros do their thing, even Al Pacino who is relatively restrained here. And while the movie does have its share of erection jokes, it is also wistful in tone, telling the viewer the story of this singular friendship over an eventful night.
Super Reviewer
½ July 4, 2013
Despite having a strong cast, Stand Up Guys is a safe and underwhelming gangster film. After being released from prison, mobster Valentine gets together with his former crew for one last night of action. The story is fairly interesting and explores a unique aspect of mob life that's rarely delved into. Starring Al Pacino, Christopher Walken, and Alan Arkin, the performances are quite good, especially for this material. Still, the plot is rather tame, and doesn't have any edginess or depth. Stand Up Guys is a solid film, but it's a bit unfocused and doesn't have much substance.
Super Reviewer
June 9, 2013
Stand Up Guys is the sort of film that gives you everything you'd expect, nothing more, and to a lesser execution than what you would hope for. With a cast including Al Pacino and Christopher Walken involving a mob story, you'd expect something standout, dramatic, smart, and charismatic. While Stand Up Guys does offer a few true dramatic moments and some occasional humor, it never rises above mediocrity.

The biggest thing holding the film back is the script. It features dialogue that is often stilted, and feels inorganic to the characters. The humor is obvious, and rarely clever, and the plot devices are all familiar. Without a doubt, it is the strong cast that elevates the material, and gives the script more of a heft than it should have.

The performances are as good as one could expect, with Walken and Pacino having good chemistry, and Alan Arkin having a great, although overly brief, part. They both have a certain amount of inherent charisma that never ceases to elevate whatever material they are in.

On the whole, it can not be said that Stand Up Guys is not enjoyable. It never ceases to be at least passably entertaining, and does have a couple of good moments. Cliches and a weak script aside, there are some laughs to be had, and some dramatic beats that feel real, anchored by two strong performances.

3/5 Stars
Super Reviewer
February 3, 2013
Pretty underwhelming for such a star-studded cast. Christopher Walken's presence overshadows everyone else throughout the film, and he still has the delivery he's so well known for that makes you want to listen and laugh at what he says. Al Pacino spends too much time looking like he's on drugs (even though he's taking them in the film) and Alan Arkin has a very small minimal role without much to do. It's a slow pacing movie that has a good story buried beneath it, but the film feels like more of an excuse to get the big names in front of the screen than to put them to work.
Super Reviewer
February 4, 2013
Stand Up Guys benefitted from a strong, and I mean STRONG, cast. I'm not sure that without these guys helping this film along, that it would have been more than a mediocre little indie film. The ending is sort of brief, but it's a fitting end to this movie.

There were a number of funny parts, and a few laugh-out-loud moments in Stand Up Guys. Walken and Pacino had great chemistry. As hard as it seemed for the movie to move along with a solid story, there was character development. I'd give Walken and Pacino the credit because in the end I'd come to like these guys, especially Doc (Walken). There was a moment between him and a young woman that was touching.

Walken showed some depth, and stood out, in this run of the mill movie. He created a character I enjoyed right off the bat. Alan Arkin and Al Pacino don't do anything spectacular, but do add some character to the film. Pacino has some standard character he goes to in his older age, but it's a character I enjoy. Lucy Punch added a bit as well, having a small but recurring character in Stand Up Guys.

The movie itself was poorly put together. It felt almost like a bunch of clips put together more-so than building a story. Fisher Stevens is transitioning from an actor to a director and benefitted greatly from this cast in his first major release.

Stand Up Guys is good, and if you enjoy it, there is an older movie called The Crew (2000), starring Richard Dreyfuss and Burt Reynolds. It's OK, and about on par with Stand Up Guys. I wouldn't direct you to a theater to see Stand Up Guys, but it's worth a rental.
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