New comedy ‘The Last Laugh’ brings together Chevy Chase & Richard Dreyfuss in the latest Netflix Original Film hoping to tickle audiences’ funny bones. The pair star as a couple of old friends from the comedy circuit. Chase plays Al, an old manager trying his best to be “hip” as his years get away from him and Dreyfuss stars as Buddy, a comic who gave up his dreams fifty years ago and ended up becoming a podiatrist. After reuniting in a retirement home, or “paradise” as it’s called here this geriatric duo decide to hit the road again for one last tour.
With a title like ‘The Last Laugh’ this implies that there has to be a first, and a second laugh, heck it’s reasonable to expect there to be a collection of laughs. Unfortunately there’s not a single one to be had here. This comedy fails to perform its most basic function and audiences will be left asking “where are the jokes?”. Even throughout the scenes of Buddy’s stand up routines there’s a distinct lack of comedy, often made worse by the exaggerated audience laughter which desperately tries to over compensate for the uninspired writing. Comedy aside the narrative as a whole does little to engage the viewer, replaying every trope seen before in films with predominately older performers. The film is convinced that old people taking drugs is funny, so much so that it becomes a recurring gag throughout, it’s a pity that this isn’t even funny the first time. Altogether it feels unmistakably like a television movie, and it’s this kind of predictable and cliched storytelling that give Netflix Originals a bad name.
The cast are consistently trying to elevate the mediocre material but end up succumbing to its lacklustre composition. Chase and Dreyfuss are fine, they never really get a chance to shine and at times seem unable to carry off such a weak screenplay but their chemistry is good enough to make it just about watchable. Andie MacDowell stars in a supporting role and as she makes her first appearance on screen she brings with her some much needed energy which completely changes the pace of the film. It’s a shame that this is so short lived as ultimately she quickly adopts the pace of her co-stars and narrative leaving viewers willing this tour to reach its final date as quickly as possible. The soundtrack does the film no favours either, it features heavily throughout but instead of enhancing the content of the film it only serves to exacerbate the shortcomings the story presents. Accompanying dull and dreary drama with a similarly flat collection of music is one of the films major downfalls.
One part road trip movie and zero parts comedy ‘The Last Laugh’ will sooner depress audiences than make them laugh. The biggest issue here is the screenplay which has good intentions but proves that good intentions aren’t solely enough to make an entertaining film. As a result it becomes instantly forgettable despite its all star cast and its lack of any real comedy will more than likely prevent Netflix users even seeing it through to the end. The last laugh? If you hit play you’ll still be waiting on the first!
Written by Hamish Calvert
Rating – 3/10
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