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The Last Shot (2004)

The true story of the greatest movie never made.

Starring:

Alec BaldwinAlec Baldwin

Buck Henry

Calista FlockhartCalista Flockhart

Evan Jones

Glenn Morshower

Ian Gomez

James Rebhorn

Joan Cusack

Matthew BroderickMatthew Broderick

Pat MoritaPat Morita

Ray LiottaRay Liotta

Thomas McCarthy

Tim Blake Nelson

Toni Collette

Tony Shalhoub

Troy Winbush

W. Earl Brown

Directed by:

Jeff Nathanson

Rating: 6/10

Running Time: 93 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 12

On DVD

Country: United States

If anyone knows how to send-up Hollywood, it’s the people who already live and work there – which is perhaps why flicks like Get Shorty, Bowfinger and this one, ‘The Last Shot’, tend to attract such high-profile casts. There’s just something that little bit smart-arsed and clever about being able to say the next movie you’re doing is some sort of satire of the movie world in general. It’s not quite biting the hand that feeds you, but it’s certainly giving the wrist on the end of that hand a serious Chinese Burn.

‘The Last Shot’ has been nowhere near as successful as those other ones. Only a tiny handful of US theatres bothered to show it, and now it’s getting a distinctly low-key DVD release. Nonetheless, if you like your comedy with a nod and a wink, you should give this disc a whirl, because it’s much better than its straight-to-Blockbuster fate would suggest.

Based, remarkably, on a true story, it’s about an FBI agent (Alec Baldwin) who sets a trap for some mobsters (led by a scar-faced Tony Shalhoub) by pretending to produce a movie. It’s such an elaborate ruse that he ends up hiring a director (Matthew Broderick), full cast (with Toni Collette as an Oscar-nominated leading lady) and crew, none of whom know that the whole production is actually a pile of porkies.

It’s written and directed by Jeff Nathanson, a man who’s probably best known for penning the Rush Hour movies and Steven Spielberg flicks like Catch Me If You Can and The Terminal. Given that each of those movies are undoubtedly polished, well-thought-out pieces of work, it’s perhaps a little surprising that ‘The Last Shot’ always feels a little rushed and never quite manages to come together properly. Its strength, though, is in its laughs, which it produces in spades. Scenes like Broderick’s rendition of Randy Newman’s ‘Short People’ and one in which Baldwin is told his dog committed suicide had me guffawing, and best of all is the uncredited Joan Cusack ad-libbing gems like: “This is Hollywood: just go outside and ask anyone you see to give you a script. A gardener, a cripple, a child-molester – they’ve all got ‘em!”. It’s funny, as they say, because it’s true.

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It's Got: Ray Liotta looking bored, Tim Blake Nelson looking annoyed, Calista Flockhart looking desperate and Toni Collette looking sensational.

It Needs: To be seen for the laughs, if not the story.

DVD Extras Deleted/extended scenes (including some cut-out narrator bits from semi-legendary producer Robert Evans), a featurette on the true story upon which the film was based, a Joan Cusack out-takes montage, and an audio commentary. Version reviewed The Last Shot DVD Extras Rating: 6/10

Alternatives:

Bowfinger, Get Shorty, In the Soup

Summary

This chortlesome Hollywood send-up might not have found its way into many cinemas, but it locates the funny bone more often than not.

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