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The Last Shot

movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Last Shot

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin
Director: Jeff Nathanson
Rated: R
RunTime: 93 Minutes
Release Date: September 2004
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Toni Collette, Calista Flockhart, Judy Greer, Tim Blake Nelson, Jesse Burch, Ray Liotta, Amy Smallman, W. Earl Brown, Kevin Chamberlin, Larry Eudene, Evan Jones, Valeria Hernandez

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

THE LAST SHOT, something like a twist on THE PRODUCERS, is about Hollywood's favorite subject, the making of movies. Alec Baldwin, with some memorably bad haircuts, plays FBI Agent Joe Devine. Sasha, Joe's dead wife in the movie, did the hair for the movie JAWS, so Joe's long string of bad hair days are probably an inside joke. Actually, it turns out that Joe was never married and that Sasha is his dog who recently committed suicide in their Jacuzzi, after leaving behind a bizarre note. THE LAST SHOT is a silly and whimsical film that takes its comedy seriously. It's quite tricky making a movie that is intentionally bad for comedic effect, but THE LAST SHOT -- and the movie within the movie, ARIZONA -- are successfully funny parodies.

While stuck in the backwaters of the Providence, Rhode Island FBI office, Joe has an inspirational idea. Reasoning that the mob controls the Teamsters, the Teamsters control the trucks and making movies is about trucks, he figures that the best way to nab Tommy Sanz, the local mob boss, is not to make a movie but to make Tommy think a movie is being made so that the FBI can entrap him.

Meanwhile back in sunny California, Matthew Broderick plays a movie theater ticket ticker and would-be writer and director named Steven Schats. Steven's current girlfriend, Valerie Weston (Calista Flockhart), wants to be in the movies like everyone in Tinseltown, but her career as an actress isn't taking off -- or even taxiing down the runway. Steven tries to boost her spirits by pointing out the potential of her current position playing the piano at Nordstrom's, since that is "where every casting agent shops."

Joe figures the gullible Steven is perfect for his movie, so Joe agrees to give him everything including final cut in the film that isn't supposed to get past pre-production anyway. Valerie hopes for lead until a "nominated actress" named Emily French (Toni Collette) shows up and overacts her way into the lead role of a woman dying of cancer. "In a moment I'm going to die," she says during the big death scene in her audition. "I wish I could see that." Her self-administered drug test, in order to show Joe and Steven that she had cleaned up her act, is one of the funniest and wildest urination scenes on record.

Since Steven's movie is titled ARIZONA and set at the Grand Canyon, filming it in Rhode Island is something of stretch, but Joe convinces him that they can make it work. Sea gulls are sort of like buzzards, and a land fill can easily be made to look like a large canyon.

The movie biz, not the catching of crooks, soon becomes Joe's passion. He begins to want to make the movie as much as Steven. So will they ever make ARIZONA? Who cares? In this cute little picture, the journey is the comedic reward.

THE LAST SHOT runs a fast 1:33. It is rated R for "language and some sexual content" and would be acceptable for teenagers.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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