Late Last Night review by Tom Blain

Decent; not the Indy find of the Year

Anyone browsing the Ls in the comedy section at your local video store will have a bit of dj vu when they come across Late Last Night. Its true. The marketing genius who created the DVD box for this little independent, straight to DVD film had two things in mind. 1. Ride the success of Swingers and promote this as a party film. 2. If that fails, maybe someone will buy/rent this mistaking it for Swingers. Lets compare and contrast. Swingers (at least the original DVD box) is bright orange, almost yellow. Late Last Night looks to be the same color until you compare them side by side then you notice the darker hues of brown. Swingers shows Vince Vaughan toasting a full martini glass with his left hand into the camera. LLN shows Emilio Estevez toast an empty martini glass with his right hand into the camera. Vaughans glass contains two olives. Estevezs only one. Swingers is written in white lettering and surrounded by a dark red matchbox (the kind you pick up at the bars). Late Last Night is also written in white and surrounded by red, but this marketing team wasnt cleaver enough to incorporate bar paraphernalia into the title. So at this point some reviews would say and the comparisons end there thus reversing the expectations created by the introduction. Not me, Im going to go on comparing the two films.

Dan (Emilio Estevez) is a normal and kind of boring chap living in LA who just got tossed out of the house by his wife. He is looking for a little pick me up and finds it in the form of his old buddy Jeff (Steve Weber). Jeff wasnt the first person on his list of people to call, but he definitely seems like the most exciting. He seems to be some sort of party drifter who can get Dan into as much trouble as Dan can handle, plus one. Much like Vince Vaughans character in Swingers, Dan pulls strings in the LA underground to show his buddy the best time possible. Along the way he offers advice from the opposite end of the spectrum. Imagine an aging party guy with no job trying to give advice to a yuppie husband. You can tell why these guys probably dont hang out too much anymore.

The movie becomes an exploration into the dirty crevasses of L.A. nightlife. Dan runs into transvestite hookers, dirty dank bars, swinging upscale velvet rope bars, raves, crack-whores with balancing issues, city lockup and every kind of hip drug under the moon. Dan sees it all in one night and ends it with a round of 3am golf. Based on the type of person you are, this movie will make you want to move to L.A. or feel glad that you dont live there now.

This movie can be found in your comedy section, but I thought it played in more of a dramatic tone. While wandering with the free-wheeling Jeff, Dan flashes back to some tender and tense moments with his wife: some leading up to their love, and some leading to their separation. Like a lot of indy films, it sways between comedy and drama like a pendulum so its a rough classification.

Im not exactly sure what happened to this movie, release-wise. It seems like they have enough Hollywood name recognition (Estevez, Weber, with small appearances by Catherine OHara and David Bowie) to push this through to the independent circuit, but judging by IMDB.com statistics, it didnt even get that.

Steven Brill directed and wrote the film. Previously he had written the entire Might Ducks trilogy along with Heavyweights (which he also directed). Hence the Estevez connection I suppose. He has also directed two recent Adam Sandler movies (Mr. Deeds and Little Nicky) so this almost seems like a departure for him. There are elements of comedy but there is also much more of an edge Late Last Night then anything else he has done.

Late Last Night is a bit rough at times, and every once in a while the dialogue sounds like a retread from your average film. The script could have probably used a re-write or two to ensure freshness. There are some comparisons that can be made between it and Swingers but I dont want to be unfair to either movie. It plays to a different theme and even a different age group perhaps. Instead of being a movie about moving on, its a movie about staying put and realizing whats really important in life. Its far from being an independent diamond in the rough, but depending on your mood it could be worth the rent one night.




4 out of 10 Jackasses
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