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IN SHORT: A great date flick. [Rated R for language and some
For those that don't watch a lot of cable teevee tabloid shows, once upon a time New York crime was run by a boss named John Gotti who got the job by arranging the killing of former boss Paul Castellano outside of Sparks Steakhouse in New York. It was a big deal when it happened and is the jumping off point for The Last Shot, a very funny comedy -- the usual based upon tale -- in which an FBI agent poses as a film producer to weasel into the chain of organized crime controlled companies with links to The Biz, and thus form a base upon which to work up to nailing the new boss, Gotti.
Or, everyone wants to get into the business.
But this story isn't about the Feds. It's about a shlub named Steven Schats (Matthew Broderick), ticket taker and popcorn seller at the legendary Mann's Chinese Theater of Hollywood. Steven's big dream is to sell a screenplay called "Arizona," which we think has something to do with the death of a sister -- the usual based upon tale -- while girlfriend Valerie Weston (Calista Flockhart) is desperate for that one big breakthrough role. How nice for both of them when producer Joe Devine (Alec Baldwin) comes a' callin' with the story that a consortium of "East Coast Dentists" wants to finance the film. The only catch? "Arizona" has to be shot in Rhode Island. To the desperate writer, no catch is going to get in the way.
Devine isn't a producer, as you can gather from the first paragraph we penned. He's the FBI agent using the production to nail an organized crime stooge named Tommy Sanz (Tony Shalhoub) who is paid before Teamsters will run the trucks for any movie. Thus the organized crime connection. More to the point, the story -- and the mob connections and targets mentioned above -- is true. Or about as true as any "based on a real story" can be.
In this particular case, and boosting the comic content of The Last Shot is the wonderful plot twist that -- dontcha just know it -- as production of the movie ramps up, all the local FBI agents start thinking about their future careers in the business ...
(and we're repeating our self using different words). There are three kinds of comedy films we've categorized over the last decade. One type is slapstick funny and this usually includes stoner stories and frat house based flicks. One is intellectually funny, with brilliantly penned and equally brilliant bits of dialog. The last manages to balance the first two in some manner or other. The Last Shot falls into the second division with a bit of the third -- specifically an over the top performance by Toni Collette as an actress cast in the film within the film.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Ten Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to The Last Shot, he would have paid . . .
There are no individual jokes within The Last Shot that you'll remember 24 hours later, that is if you're anything like us. The warm fuzzy enjoyment feeling stuff will last a good while.
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