Movie Review: 'One Last Night' Is a Clever Little Romance
'One Last Night' is odd and occasionally a little too offbeat, but I liked it.
Forgive me while I root for the underdog. One Last Night is certainly an underdog of a movie. This low budget movie has four principal cast members, maybe two locations and a budget that could not have been more than a shoestring. What it does have however, is a clever and likable group of actors to pass a very short running time with.
A pair of young, attractive people are about to have a very memorable and quite awkward first date. Zoey (Rachele Schank) is a lonely Angelino who is taking one last shot at dating via an app on her phone. The app has connected Zoey with Alex (Luke Brandon Field), an Englishman who invites her to the movies for their first date.
Things get off to an immediately odd and uncomfortable start. After getting their tickets, Zoey and Alex are confronted with the snack counter worker, Taryn (Ali Cobrin), a terror of the customer service industry. Taryn appears to be going out of her way to be rude to Zoey and Alex, including arbitrarily deciding to deny them popcorn.
In the theater the two are sat behind a large man who Taryn was kind enough to give popcorn to after having denied Alex and Zoey. This is Escott (Brian Baumgartner), and while he doesn't stick around long at the movie, he will return to the story being told in One Last Night. Zoey and Alex suffer through the movie, making us aware, without saying the title, that they are seeing The Intern starring Robert DeNiro and Anne Hathaway.
Zoey nodded off during the movie and it appears that the date overall is a snooze. Then Alex makes Zoey sit through the credits on the pretense that he wants to see the name of a friend who is supposed to be in the credits of the movie. By the time they get up to leave the theater, they are the last people in the building. Literally, the building has been locked up and even evil Taryn has gone home, not bothering to check if all the customers had left.
Locked inside the theater, Alex and Zoey begin to bond over their predicament. They make popcorn and drink the theater's supply of wine, and when they finally get bored and bold enough, they trick their way into the projection booth to watch another movie. It turns out, in this universe, it's not all that hard to string up and run a movie on an old movie theater projector.
The film they watch is a short film, a small scale romance about a man and a woman at a bus stop who begin to play an elaborate game of tic-tac-dough. The short isn't particularly notable but it gets the two talking, taking jabs at each other for their differing opinions of the short; Alex likes it and Zoey is unimpressed.
Trust me, all of these little details are important. They lead to the midpoint twist of One Last Night. Don't worry, I am not going to dip into spoilers. I will only say that the twist drives a wedge between Alex and Zoey that they will need a little inspiration to overcome. Where the movie goes from there is charming on a very, very small scale.
One Last Night was written and directed by Anthony Sabet and it marks his feature directing debut. The short about the man and the woman at the bus stop that we see Alex and Zoey watch in One Last Night is actually one of Sabet's own shorts called Tic Tac Stop. Like One Last Night, the short has a sweet, simple premise that rides entirely on whether you find the idea charming or not. I found the short and the whole of One Last Night quite charming indeed.
One Last Night is not ambitious, it doesn't strive to blow your mind. Instead, what the movie does is act upon you with a delightful pair of very likable actors who are easy to root for. And, for added benefit, there is Kevin from The Office, a.k.a. actor Brian Baumgartner. Using his Kevin-like simpleminded charm, Baumgartner steals a couple scenes and helps the movie move from act to act while keeping the audience smiling.
One Last Night is a trifle. It’s a very small movie, and a brief one as well at a mere 72 minutes. That said, it’s an easygoing, likable and unusual movie with a good cast and a script that is as breezy and captivating as many much bigger and longer movies. There are troubles with the plot and the story logic, but I like these characters enough that I didn’t mind.
One Last Night rolls out with a minor theatrical release on August 16th and will be available on many Video On Demand services on August 20th.