Teetering on an abyss of meta-wackiness, The Last Shot – a movie about movie fakery, based on a true story about a fake movie – succeeds modestly where, by all rights, it should fail miserably. It’s a mostly loveless letter to Hollywood, giddily overwritten and overdirected by career scribe Jeff Nathanson (Catch Me if You Can), from events so zanily high-concept, they could only be furnished by reality. In the ’80s, the FBI concocted a decoy movie shoot in Providence, R.I., to snare the Teamsters – and never told the filmmakers it was fake.
Alec Baldwin is the sad-sack G-man who cooks up the scheme, Matthew Broderick, the hungry dupe who agrees to shoot his masterpiece, Arizona, in Providence. There’s some sharp Mametian misanthropy here, albeit larded with tired showbiz stereotyping. (Toni Collette, Calista Flockhart, and Joan Cusack gamely degrade themselves as Vile Star, She-wolf Starlet, and Execu-bitch.) But Nathanson displays real off-kilter flair – and an ability to find humor in dog suicide. And that’s worth celebrating.