The Last Time

"Bad"

The Last Time Review


For the most part, the bad movies of today are bad for a common, if somewhat broad, reason. They exist merely as products. They neither entertain nor enlighten. They simply fuel the engine of commerce. (Imagine any recent Nicolas Cage or talking animal movie.) Their hackery and awfulness is conspicuous, often involving meaningless action, puerile humor, blaring pop songs, and an unconvincing story. The Last Time is a different sort of bad. It's bad on a much smaller scale. Its hackery and awfulness masquerade as intelligence and crafty storytelling. It doesn't exist to fuel the engine of commerce. It exists to pad the resume of everyone whose name appears in the credits.

Writer-director Michael Caleo clearly fancies himself a David Mamet acolyte. Like Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross, The Last Time's plot centers on the vicious and primal world of high-pressure sales, and the dialogue comes out fast and caustic. Michael Keaton plays Ted, the top seller at a high-tech company whose product is frequently referred to but never actually defined. Ted is lonely, angry, and mean and he runs roughshod over everyone in his office, including his toothless boss, John (Daniel Stern). Ted is openly pissed off when he's directed to help orient the new guy, Jamie (Brendan Fraser). Everything changes, however, when Jamie introduces Ted to his gorgeous fiancée, Belisa (Amber Valletta). Ted takes an immediate interest in Belisa -- and his feelings only strengthen when he discovers that Belisa and Jamie aren't entirely happy together.

Caleo comes to The Last Time by way of television. He's credited with having written an episode of both The Sopranos and Rescue Me. And this is just the type of small-scale project that a guy with some success in TV could credibly sell to a film executive. A contained budget, edgy dialogue, a little nudity, and a handful of juicy acting parts perfect for breathing life into foundering careers -- what's not to like? Well, just about everything else.

For starters, Ted's topsy-turvy emotional swings are too incredible to be believed. Keaton infuses each scene with his usual brand of fidgety charisma, but it's impossible to ignore the contrivances he's forced to act his way through. In one scene he's spitting acid putdowns at everyone who crosses his path and in the next he's talking sweetly on the telephone to his dotty aging mother. Humans don't work like that. Nor do they work like Fraser's Jamie. The top seller at his previous job, Jamie acts like he's never been on a sales call in the handful of scenes aimed at establishing his professional struggles. Such dissonance is presumably meant to represent human complexity, but Caleo's heavy hand undermines his ambitions.

In his defense, The Last Time bears the marks of an editing-room battle that almost surely left him unhappy. It seems that a large portion of the first half-hour of the movie was cut completely. Not long after the opening, the story's established pace suddenly and inexplicably surges forward -- and afterward characters begin referring to events that never happened. This has the effect of significantly streamlining the story but it also eliminates characterization that could have markedly improved the story.

Having said that, no amount of characterization would have helped The Last Time's closing act, which is reminiscent -- in the worst possible way -- of The Spanish Prisoner. It would be irresponsible of me to hint at the nature of the trick, but let me just say that it fails miserably. Like everything else in the film, the ending feels forced, like it wants to be much more than it actually is.



The Last Time

Facts and Figures

Run time: 96 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th August 2007

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 35%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 11

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Michael Caleo

Producer: , Malcolm Petal, ,

Starring: as Ted, as Jamie Bashant, as John, as Belisa, Richard Kuhlman as Arthur, as Alvarez, as Hurly, as J.D., as Leguzza

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Advertisement
Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds the...

Chips Movie Review

Chips Movie Review

It's clear from the very start that this movie has little to do with the...

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.