Last Shot, The
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Date: May 10, 2005
Review posted: May 10, 2005
In this farce
of an FBI sting operation, a
movie project is greenlit for filming in New England by a federal
agent posing as a producer. A director, talent, and crew are
unwittingly enlisted by appealing to their grandiose dreams, in
order to lure in a crime boss with trucking connections. The
project moves forward in an effort to fry bigger racketeering
Have you ever
heard those stories about hapless crooks who should never have taken
up the crime trade, like the guy who passed a bank teller a stick-up
note written on the back of his pre-addressed withdrawal slip? This
movie is just as comically unbelievable, and it's based on an actual
event. Alec Baldwin does a nice comic turn as Joe Devine, a hack FBI
agent who one day gets a bright idea on how to nab a minor crime boss
(if this were animated, you'd see a lightbulb over his head). The mob
man, Tony Sanz (the always great Tony Shalhoub) is in trucking, and
Devine figures that he will pretend to produce a movie, and all the
trucks involved in movie productions will lead the FBI through the
union to Sanz. Devine travels to Hollywood posing as a producer,
confers with an agent (an uncredited Joan Cusack doing a hilarious
shtick), and sets off to find a script . As Cusack says, “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,
you just have to find one.”
What ensues is
pure movie making business farce. He greenlights a script titled
“Arizona” from failed writer Steven Schatz (a bearded Mathew
Broderick) who moonlights as a Chinese Theater ticket-taker, and then
pegs Shatz to direct his own script. The catch? As Baldwin describes
it, the dentist investors made a sweet deal with the state of Rhode
Island, and they'll have to shoot Shatz's script “Arizona,” a desert
tale of a young woman’s search for truth, in winter-locked Providence!
Just a few script tweaks.
The film enlists
cast and crew, including an audition by down-on-her-luck over-the-top
vamp actress Emily French (Toni Collette).The scenes of Providence
location scouting (especially the Hopi Indian cave/storage garage),
the writer/director's adoring entourage, and the FBI project update
meetings are quite funny. The backup cast includes Tim Blake Nelson as
Shatz's cowboy kid brother and co-scriptwriter, Buck Henry as Shatz's
agent, and Calista Flockhart as Shatz’s fed-up actress wannabe
makes an admirable directorial debut with The Last Shot. He
showed he can imbue his characters with empathy and believability,
having penned the screenplay for The Terminal, and in
directing his own script he was able to maintain a nice, even comic
tone throughout–not uproarious, but intelligent and subdued.
The Last Shot
has been transferred to DVD in its widescreen 1.85:1 aspect ratio
presented anamorphically. The movie has a slightly dark, muted
coloring that helps you realize the small screen is a perfect place to
catch this box office miss.
The Dolby Digital
5.1 soundtrack is fine, if not noteworthy for this little movie.
French, Spanish, and English subtitles are available.
The audio commentary with director Jeff Nathanson and
actor Matthew Broderick is somewhat funny. Broderick makes you
realize that he has used slight variations of the same facial
expression since he was Ferris Bueller, always to comic effect, and
that the three films in which he was bearded have been box office
This DVD includes an interesting Inspired By Actual
Events featurette that brings together the original FBI producer,
and the writer and director for the first time since the actual sting
upon which this film is based.
The DVD also offers a few forgettable deleted scenes
and an extended "Joan Cusack's Montage".
In Robert Evans Presents... Nathanson explains how
he was originally going to have famous producers narrate the film, but
decided it wasn’t practical after already having shot icon Robert
Evans, so he included it on the DVD.
The Last Shot
is funny offbeat comedy that is a stab at the whole process of movie
making. Great rental entertainment, but one you probably won’t watch
over and over.
VERDICT: RENT IT
Home | Back to Top