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The Last Man (2000)

R  |   |  Action, Comedy, Drama  |  15 February 2002 (USA)
5.4
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Ratings: 5.4/10 from 486 users   Metascore: 32/100
Reviews: 19 user | 11 critic | 9 from Metacritic.com

Apocalyptic comedy finds a socially-challenged grad school student as one of the last two men on Earth with a beautiful woman. However, the other remaining man is his superior in every ... See full summary »

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David Arnott ...
Alan
...
Sarah
Dan Montgomery Jr. ...
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Apocalyptic comedy finds a socially-challenged grad school student as one of the last two men on Earth with a beautiful woman. However, the other remaining man is his superior in every sense. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

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A comedy about the last three people on Earth and their terrible relationship problems See more »


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Rated R for language, some sexual content and drug use

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15 February 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

O Ăšltimo Homem na Terra  »

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User Reviews

 
It's the end of the world as we know it ... and I don't feel fine.
15 March 2007 | by (Bookseller of the Blue Ridge) – See all my reviews

Hypothetical situations abound, one-time director Harry Ralston gives us the ultimate post-apocalyptic glimpse with the world dead, left in the streets, in the stores, and throughout the landscape, sans in the middle of a forgotten desert. One lone survivor, attempting to rekindle his sanity, takes food from the city to his bungalow in this desert. All alone, he hopes for more, but with nobody around, he is left with white underwear, and a passion for a local Indian tribe – until the discovery of a camera which opens up new doors and breaks the barriers of human co-existence. Alan, a man of the book, is left on Earth after an unknown disaster. Thinking he is alone, he begins living life his way – until, Jeri Ryan, appears (like she would in any dream) out of the woods, disheveled, and unhappy to find the final man alive to be ... well ... like Alan. Anyway, they try to co-exist, fail, get drunk, and before creating the ultimate dystopia, they run into Redneck Raphael (played by newcomer – Dan Montgomery Jr). Bonds are torn, confusion sets in, a couple becomes a third wheel, and the battle between physically inept nerd vs. brainless jock. Even with nobody left on the planet, it becomes a truth that even the darkest of human nature will arise.

Using a variable film technique, Ralston gives us a mediocre story based loosely on another film entitled "The Quiet Earth" (which I will be viewing next) oddly which he never gives any credit towards. With a borrowed story, I guess he does a decent job of reinterpreting it. His punch seems to be lacking at the beginning while Ralston tries to find his stride, borrowing yet again from other film director's techniques to attempt to find his own. He opens the film interestingly enough, but fails to answer any direct answers. Sure, the final days have arrived, but could there be a concise answer as to "how" or better yet "why" these select few survived. A spookier beginning would have led us stronger into a comical film. The juxtaposition would have been like "Shawn of the Dead", but instead left us feeling like we were watching a "made-for-TV" program. Listening to the audio commentary, I have respect for Ralston because he worked diligently to get this film made, and his passion nearly sells the film, but you could tell from his interaction with the cast that he wasn't as happy with his overall final product. There were mistakes, ones that he pointed out and others that he was ashamed to point out. While this does make for decent independent film-making, it sometimes feels cheap, and in Ralston's case, it was the latter.

I must admit, David Arnott's portrayal of Alan hooked me. He played that wimpy, school nerd, adult role very well. He was funny to both watch and listen to, and thus he became sympathetic to the viewer. He was a key player in keeping the film together, alas, I cannot say the same for the rest. This was Dan Montgomery's first film, and it was obvious – I mean – really really obvious. There were scenes in which I thought the cue card was about to come out and read the lines for him, perhaps even giving us a more realistic performance, but alas, it wasn't the case. Then there was Jeri Ryan. She pulled into her character near the end of the film, which to me, was the culmination of the entire piece of art. She goes from estranged unknown to bitter cranky insane girlfriend by the end. Confused? Again, she fell into her character by the end, giving us just a glimpse of what she could have probably done as her acting matured. Even as the commentary progressed, all that she contributed was a laugh, giggle, or "ohhh, look at that color" moment. While her beauty may sell tickets, one may want to consider knowledge to be just as beautiful. This was her first film, so can I be too harsh?

Overall, this film felt like it was missing something. I though the idea was strong – the premise that even with only a peppering of people remaining on the Earth the evil of human nature still exists. Jealousy cannot be killed by bacteria or bombs (maybe because it is consumed by zinc?) and we as a race will always want what we cannot have. Ralston is not a surprising director, his techniques are flawed and pre-used, but he does know how to make a low-budget comedy. I think our idea of "funny" is different, so that is why I couldn't find myself laughing at many of the bits he found "hysterical". His actors provided the level of acting needed for this film, which was lower than average. His film was loose, meaning that there were elements never quite explained or tackled (i.e. anything with wings survived?!?), which overall harmed the intensity of the film. This was a comedy, but it could have been much darker and much much funnier. For those thinking that Roger Avery was a huge element to this film, as we learn from their commentary, all he was there for was money – the was in essence, the bank for "The Last Man". Don't get your hopes up for any classic Avery moments.

Don't expect more from Ralston – and that is how I will end it.

Grade: ** out of *****


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