Score Reviews‎ > ‎

Last Vegas by Mark Mothersbaugh (Review)

posted Nov 11, 2013, 7:53 AM by Koray Savas

It may not seem like it, but Mark Mothersbaugh is actually one of the more versatile composers that has been working for the medium. His projects range from the classic Rugrats cartoon, to a couple outings with video game developer Naughty Dog, and more recently the films Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and 21 Jump Street. However, his most famous work is undoubtedly for auteur filmmaker Wes Anderson, where Mothersbaugh seamlessly infuses the quirky spark and life to the visuals. For Jon Turteltaub's Last Vegas, he utilizes a rather expected musical palette to accompany yet another bachelor party in Vegas flick.

The score is more or less pseudo-funk jazz in the style of David Holmes' Ocean's trilogy and Lyle Workman's Stand Up Guys, lacking the former's ease of cool and fitting more in line with the latter's unfocused and wandering structure. There isn't much to latch onto in terms of a listening experience because of the lack of development and natural build. The tone is consistent, the rhythm is consistent, and the melody is largely uninteresting compared to other ventures into this sort of soundscape. There are some small emotional pieces interspersed throughout that give the score a more personal touch ("Paddy Intro/Eulogy," "Sophie's Choice," "Paddy Crushed," "Billy Breaks It Packing") but it all feels too simple and shallow to illicit a response from the listener. Actress Mary Steenburgen covers a handful of songs that are represented here on the album, and they are actually quite good. Her low sultry voice pairs exceptionally well with the smoky allure of the piano and bass, really echoing the nourish Vegas of old.

Anyone that is a fan of this more contemporary Las Vegas sound may find something to love here, but it ultimately feels like another notch in a long line of similar ventures. Mothersbaugh does a decent job of encapsulating the tone of the film, but the album experience lacks any substantial emotional resonance that would make it worth multiple listens.