'The Last Time'

Akin to hip-hop culture's misappropriation of Scarface as a tale of gangsta empowerment, writer-director Michael Caleo crudely latches onto the surface misanthropy of David Mamet's work to fuel his forgettable first feature. Riddled with power-tie machismo, antagonistic pissing contests, and painfully glib F-bombs, Caleo's hokey attempt at a dark melodramedy-thriller (you read that right) miscasts Michael Keaton, all eyebrows and curled upper-lip, as a top New York salesman and all-around prick. Egging him on for competition is Midwestern transplant Brendan Fraser, whose inability to "always be closing" makes him increasingly and laughably unhinged, all while Keaton starts an improbable affair with his fiancée (Amber Valletta). Beyond his technical clumsiness, Caleo seems convinced that real men exert power by being A-type jerks and all women are sluts. If nothing else, this film serves as a troubling psychological profile of a filmmaker who feels scornfully cynical toward nothing in particular.

 
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