The Last Shot (2004) starring Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, Toni Collette, Tony Shalhoub, Calista Flockhart, Ray Liotta, James Rebhorn directed by Jeff Nathanson Movie Review

The Last Shot (2004)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Matthew Broderick and Alec Baldwin in The Last Shot (2004)

Borderick has Devine Schats

Interesting fact "The Last Shot" is inspired by a real FBI sting operation where an FBI agent went undercover as a movie executive. That though is the only interesting fact because whilst inspired by a true story "The Last Shot" ends up entertaining but messy as it tries to make fun of the movie industry, the FBI as well as the mob. And that is in many ways the root of the problem because there is so many possibilities for poking fun at that it often becomes a collection of gags as it has fun with FBI agents totally oblivious to the movie industry and gangsters who murder their plastic surgeons for suggesting skin grafts from their butt. And it is a shame because there is some really good mickey taking going on but because it becomes one mickey take after another it ends up feeling forced with the actual storyline often disappearing.

Joe Devine (Alec Baldwin - Along Came Polly) is an undercover FBI agent who thanks to his brother Jack (Ray Liotta), the Assistant Director, always goes on the mob stings. Joe's latest sting is to trap mob boss Tommy Sanz (Tony Shalhoub) by pretending to be producing a movie and in order to make it believable Joe hires Steven Schats (Matthew Broderick - You Can Count on Me) to direct a movie which Schats has written himself, completely unaware that Joe isn't a Hollywood producer. The only trouble is that the more Joe puts together the movie which will never be made the more he falls in love with the movie industry even to the point where he talks his bosses into letting him continue producing the movie that never will be to try and get more mobsters other than just as Sanz.

Matthew Broderick as Steven Schats in The Last Shot (2004)

So whilst "The Last Shot" was inspired by a true story what the writers, director and producer have created is a combination of 3 often used ideas. We have the satirical look behind the scenes at the movie industry, we have some spoofing of the mob as well as a touch of mickey taking out of the FBI. And that is where it gets messy because rather than having the story of Joe producing a fake movie as an FBI sting taking precedence the humour from all the comedy takes centre stage. And because we have the 3 elements it becomes often one joke after another with it feeling forced when it tries to combine so many gags.

Now this is a shame because when we have the comedy surrounding the movie industry it is funny, not darkly biting like you might expect but fun in a spoof manner. It is amusing when Joe and Steven go all gaga when the over the top Emily French auditions for them and it is just as funny before that when Joe persuades Steven to shoot the movie in Rhode Island rather than Arizona. All of which is combined with some amusing insights into the movie world especially when you have Joe's senior FBI agents knowing nothing of the movie industry and so having to learn how to act like movie moguls.

But that is as already mentioned the problem lies because we go from poking fun at the movie industry, having fun with the FBI and then the Mob and the storyline gets lost in the mix of gags. And it is a shame because the storyline which sees Joe fall in love with the movie industry and wanting to produce movies for the FBI as a job in order to trap other mobsters is amusingly clever. But it ends up forcing one joke on us after another and whilst many are very good and even clever because it is one after another it loses the focus.

What helps to keep this going and stopping it from becoming just a series of gags is the casting and whilst Alec Baldwin and Matthew Broderick are the stars it is more to do with what everyone offers. So we have Toni Collette who is wonderfully over the top as once Oscar nominated actress Emily French who most people know for a movie she did with a sex scene. But then we also have James Rebhorn as one of Joe's FBI bosses who ends up as hooked on making the movie as Joe is with him leading the call for changes to the script. Throw in performances from Ray Liotta, Calista Flockhart and Tony Shalhoub as well as a scene stealing performance from Joan Cusack and you have some well known names delivering fun performances.

What this all boils down to is that "The Last Shot" is fun and many of the jokes be it the mickey taking of the movie industry, FBI agents or Mob bosses are effective. But because there is so much mickey taking that far too often the storyline disappears leaving it to be one forced joke after another.