The true story of the greatest movie never made.
Tim Blake Nelson
W. Earl Brown
Running Time: 93 minutes
US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 12
Country: United States
If anyone knows how to send-up Hollywood, its 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. Theres just something that little bit smart-arsed and clever about being able to say the next movie youre doing is some sort of satire of the movie world in general. Its not quite biting the hand that feeds you, but its 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 its 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 its much better than its straight-to-Blockbuster fate would suggest.
Based, remarkably, on a true story, its 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. Its 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.
Its written and directed by Jeff Nathanson, a man whos 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, its 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 Brodericks rendition of Randy Newmans 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 theyve all got em!. Its funny, as they say, because its true.
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
This chortlesome Hollywood send-up might not have found its way into many cinemas, but it locates the funny bone more often than not.