Netflix is really cornering the market on the older demographic.
Synopsis: When retired talent manager Al Hart is reunited with his first client, Buddy Green, a comic who quit show business 50 years ago, he convinces Buddy to escape their retirement community and hit the road for a cross-country comedy tour. (IMDB)
Starring: Chevy Chase, Richard Dreyfuss and Andie MacDowell
Writer: Greg Pritikin
Director: Greg Pritikin
Running Time: 98 mins
The Last Laugh follows the story of Al Hart (Chase), a talent manager, who finds himself on the wrong side of 60. His granddaughter Jeannie (Kate Micucci) suggests he moves to a retirement home. There he is reacquainted with his first client Buddy Green (Dreyfuss). After some convincing, Al gets Buddy back on the road for a cross-country comedy tour. They travel from city-to-city as each of them men try to rediscover themselves in their older age.
There is nothing new with this film. It’s the same predictable, by-the-books story found on Netflix. Its premise isn’t even remotely original following in the footsteps of The Hero, The Last Movie Star and The Comedian. Films like this place an aging star in a character-driven drama that focuses on trying to find their place in the world. While this film is Chase’s The Hero, it never quite hits the same highs because Chase isn’t as a diverse an actor.
He has the charm, he has the funny bone, but his shtick never included hugely emotional or dramatic range. This story tries to be a little too serious for someone of his comedic talents. Unfortunately, that affects the tone of the story as the comedy and drama never hit the beats they should. The comedy is more chuckles than actual laughs and the emotions feel forced into oddly timed situations. This doesn’t even include the editing where scenes feel thrown together into a haphazardly structured story.
While there are all of these issues with the script, story and execution, those things don’t make this film unwatchable. It is still an enjoyable time thanks to Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss. He may not have the acting chops for the range of this character, but Chase still brings his all to this performance. That with the chemistry of Dreyfuss and his reserved performance help create two strong characters that drive this film forward.
The themes are the other selling point of this story. They look at the issues of growing old like many other successful Netflix originals as of late. It may not be as poignant as the other additions to this new grey-haired genre for Netflix’s largest growing audience; but it still hits on some very real, relatable topics that resonant well. And it somehow manages to throw at least one surprise into the story with a random shrooms-filled musical number.
Overall, The Last Laugh is a senile senior comedy that caters to Netflix’s newfound grey-haired audience. While the predictable story is unevenly edited and the comedy never quite hits the hilarious levels it hopes, the charisma, chemistry and efforts of its leads with some strong themes of growing old and rediscovering life make for a sombre and heartfelt attempt at a road trip adventure. It may not be as funny as it hopes to be, but the cast still delivers a watchable film.
*The Last Laugh is now streaming on Netflix*
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