So what’s going on with all the God talk in Stand Up Guys? It’s tempting to think Val may be testing Doc and that Val could be an instrument or servant doing God’s bidding, but the dalliances with hookers would make such a reading highly distasteful. No, the more likely explanation is that the church imagery and Bible talk are just moral drapery hung on a flimsy framework of old-age jokes and one-last-hurrah antics. The film’s most provocative moments are in its finale, but even those are an echo of better films. 

The combination of elements in Stand Up Guys simply doesn’t work, just as if Grumpy Old Men had been written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. As such, it only leaves you wondering who thought it was a good idea.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity: Lord’s name taken in vain; the f-word; various obscenities; much discussion about sex and sex organs
  • Alcohol/Smoking/Drugs: Prescription pills taken; smoking; meds are crushed and snorted
  • Sex/Nudity: Doc takes Val and, later, Hirsch, to a house of prostitutes; a hand on a woman’s rear end; discussion and taking of pills that enhance sexual performance; a man on a hospital gurney has an obvious erection, which is covered by a sheet; a doctor says he has to insert a needle into a man’s penis to drain excess blood; Hirsch heads to a room with two prostitutes at the same time; a woman is found bound, gagged and naked in the trunk of a car; men in their underwear
  • Violence/Crime: The three protagonists remember previous jobs, including throwing a man out a window; they break into a drug store and steal prescription meds; the film’s plot revolves around a planned killing; punching and fighting
  • Religion: We first see Doc in a church pew; a character quotes 2 Corinthians 9:7 a character states that you "reap what you sow;" a vindictive man is compared with "the devil himself;"; a character says “the truth will set you free;"; a church is said to be "always open;" a song on the soundtrack includes the words, "Bless me Father, for I have sinned;" Val goes to confession, and tells the priest he doesn’t need worldly things where he’s going

Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com.

Publication date: February 1, 2013