The Last Shot (2004)

Genres - Comedy, Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Errors, Crime Comedy, Showbiz Comedy  |   Release Date - Sep 24, 2004 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Derek Armstrong

It's ironic that a film called The Last Shot would have third-act problems, but that's one of the few things preventing Jeff Nathanson's film from standing side-by-side with the top Hollywood satires out there. Alec Baldwin's FBI agent-cum-film-producer recalls Chili Palmer in Get Shorty, the absurd on-set improvisations (shooting a movie called "Arizona" in Rhode Island) are shades of State and Main, and the orchestrated deception even suggests Wag the Dog. But when it abruptly adheres to the fact that it's based on a true story, The Last Shot robs the viewer of the more sublime conclusion an invented story might have had. The entire point is that it can only end as it does, but Nathanson has crafted such a likeable group of delusional hopefuls that we want to see more of what happens to them. The film is probably closest in spirit to State and Main, which also features Baldwin, but what differs The Last Shot from the misanthropic hyperbole of David Mamet's film is that the audience roots for these characters to succeed. Especially effective in this regard is Matthew Broderick as the hapless screenwriter/director, whose earnestness carries him above the fray, in spite of his own ethical compromises. Nathanson doesn't always resist the urge to go big -- Calista Flockhart's shtick, for example, is that she holds small dogs hostage during temper tantrums, and washed-up diva Toni Collette provides a urine sample at the dinner table. But the fact that these events represent rare concessions to commonness indicates how sharp most of this satire is. Criminally under-marketed, The Last Shot couldn't even crack one million dollars at the box office, ironically making it as stillborn as the sham film it depicts.