Always Be Trying
The evidence: I had never heard of "The Last Time" despite it having a good cast, it seems I am not alone as 7 years after its release it has a surprisingly low number of reviews both user and critic written posted on imdb and here we have a movie featuring Brendan Fraser which sadly makes it hit n miss despite it featuring Michael Keaton. That evidence lead me to wonder what sort of turkey this was going to be but surprisingly it was not the turkey I expected. Okay so it isn't a great movie as it seems to fluctuate between comedy and drama in an uneasily frequent manner but the performances and the twists make it entertaining.
Ted Riker (Michael Keaton - Herbie Fully Loaded) is the top salesman at the company, in fact his sales make up 70% of business and his boss John Whitman (Daniel Stern) relies on him. Whitman also has Ted mentoring new kid Jamie (Brendan Fraser - Crash) who unlike the brutal and cynical Ted is full of optimism and positivity. But Jamie quickly realises that sales in the big city are not as easy as they were in his old company whilst Ted, well he takes a fondness to Jamie's girlfriend Belisa bringing out a more thoughtful side in him.
Let me say this before I go any further "The Last Time" is one of those movies which not only get better the longer they go on but also get more comically surreal. So the set up is simple Ted is a cynical foul mouthed salesman saddled with Jamie an optimistic rookie with Belisa a sexy girlfriend. As the movie progresses we watch as the tables start to shift as Jamie realises being nice doesn't sale and turns cynical and mean whilst Ted, well he gets his head turned by the sexy Belisa. There is more going on to it than this and it twists and turns its way to an entertaining ending.
Now I mentioned the word comically surreal and this is where "The Last Time" has problems because its tone is all over the place and not always funny. The frequent F-bombs which litter the movie often exploding from Keaton's mouth fall flat other than highlighting the abruptness of the character as he swears at women for no reason. Then there is the cheesy comedy of Jamie using an oven mitt he has brought for Belisa as a glove puppet in the street which is frankly cheesy. But then it fires in a doozy where with a passed out Jamie in the bed Ted screws Belisa right next to him, it leaves your jaw firmly on the floor. It is these moments which make you want to keep on watching.
But what "The Last Time" has is good performances with Michael Keaton delivering the consistently top performance you expect from him with just the constant swearing being an issue. And Keaton pulls out a performance from Fraser which reminds you of what he can do when he's not stuck in a stupid comedy playing it dumb. The interplay between them and Amber Valletta as Belisa is first rate, comical, abrupt and in some cases sexy.
What this all boils down to is that on paper "The Last Time" sounds like a turkey but it is much better than expected which despite various flaws keeps you interested.