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The Last Time (0/10)

by Tony Medley

This is aptly titled because it’s probably the last time I will view a film written and directed by a devotee of David Mamet, Which is what Michael Caleo claims. This is definitely in Mamet’s mold because both the story and the characters are totally divorced from reality.

Mamet made an unrealistic play, made into a movie, called Glengarry Glen Ross, about salesmen, showing them to be profane jerks. It was pretty unrealistic, in terms of real life, but it was successful. Showing what a wordsmith he is, every other word Mamet had his characters utter began with “f.”

Caleo apes this in this film. All the salesmen, well, actually, everyone, even the women, use the “f” word as often as they use “the.” That’s bad enough, but the characters he creates and the world he creates for them to inhabit are sheer fantasy. People just don’t act like this and the business world doesn’t exist like this. If this were intended as farce, that would be one thing. But Caleo apparently thinks this is the way the world is.

Ted (Michael Keaton) is a rude, foul-talking top salesman for Bineview. He treats his fellow salesmen with disdain. At the beginning of the film he is introduced to a new salesman, the naïve Jamie (Brendan Fraser) and is instructed to show him the ropes. Jamie introduces Ted to his fiancé, Belisa (Amber Valletta), with whom Ted begins an affair.

This entire movie is so unrealistic that I squirmed watching every scene. Ted is constantly chewing gum, even when he meets his clients. The dialogue is enough to cause violent retching. Example, Belisa asks Ted, “How did you end up at Bineview?”

Ted responds, “Sometimes you end up somewhere that you wouldn’t have thought in a thousand years.” What? Oh, well, that satisfied Belisa.

Later, Ted, who is pictured as a selfish, rude jackass throughout the entire film, is told by Belisa that she’s going to ask Jamie to move out tonight. “Is that what you want?” Ted asks solicitously. Yeah, sure.

The only times we see the other salesmen they are all standing around together in the office corridor talking, gossiping really, like a bunch of fishwives. Apparently they never go out to sell. One says about a competitor, “He used to screw his competitor’s secretaries just to get information.” Ohmygosh!

Naturally, everyone in this film not only uses the “f” word constantly, they all smoke.

If this isn’t the most irritating film I’ve seen this year, it’s close. No, I take that back. This is the most irritating film I've seen all year.

April 18, 2007