I know that this may come as a shock to most readers, but I think it's something you need to know: I am not the smartest person in the world.
Recovered yet? Take a deep breath and exhale slowly.
To be honest, I am not all that often even the smartest person in the room. I like to believe that's because I hang out with a really bright crowd, like for instance, the readers of my reviews. I also married someone smarter than me, so since we spend a lot of time together, I have fewer opportunities to be the smartest person in the room, but I am not making excuses. Things are what they are, and I have never thought that I have a right to belong to Mensa (The Really Smart Persons' Society) simply because other people do. Nor do I think that Mensanists are evil, repressive people because they say that you have to be as tall as Howdy Doody to ride their ride.
Anyway, my editor once again forgot to ask Accounting to find the expense reports I've submitted, so while I might have liked to go the movies to have something new to review, I had to save some money and opt for popping my own corn and watching something that I could get using my son-in-law's Netflix account.
Fortunately there was a movie that I had wanted to see several years ago and had just never gotten around to it. (Did you ever see those drink coasters that are "round toits?" You give them to people so they can do all the things they were going to do when they got a "round toit." I bet there's dozens of those things on the tables at the Mensa club.) It was the 2010 film Last Night, from writer/director Massy Tadjedin. I remember seeing the trailer and thinking that it was an intriguing idea for a story.
Joanna (Keira Knightly, 80% of why I wanted to see this movie) and Michael (Sam Worthington, 80% of why I didn't see it in the first place) are a married yuppie couple. Things are kind of good, but then at a business dinner party, Joanna meets Laura (Eva Mendez, an additional 10% of why I wanted to see this movie), the boomba-boomba associate who has been going on business trips with Mikey. Joanna arches her back and hisses at Mikey who swears up and down that he didn't even know that Laura was a girl. When he finally admits that indeed he was attracted to Laura, but never mentioned her to Joanna because he didn't want her to worry about him working hard, Joanna backs off, but still is switching her tail as Mikey goes off on another business trip with Boomba-Boomba.
However, just after Mikey leaves for the airport, Joanna runs into her old flame Alex (Guillaume Canet, who looks almost exactly like the Burger King guy from the commercials, but without the crown) who just happens to be standing outside her door after having flown in from Paris on business, and who just happens to have an few free hours in the evening before he goes back to Paris in the morning, and who suggests that they might get together for a few drinks and a quick cough-cough for old times' sake. Joanna agrees and spends the day primping and carefully choosing her best undergarments as if she is a woman who hasn't had a good drink in quite some time.
So the stage is set. Mikey is off on a roadtrip with Boomba-Boomba, and Joanna is left unchaperoned with the Burger King guy and apparently really wants a Whopper. Who is going to fall off the fidelity wagon?
I understand the world is filled with temptation, and there are certainly enough people out there who can't or don't resist, and I think there is good story potential here. However, I assure you, if this was a horror movie, Joanna and Mikey would be the characters who make you yell "No, don't open that door!" And of course they must.
Aside from the basic premise, there is not much believable about this story. Would a guy who wants to be faithful really go drinking with his co-worker, talk about sex, then agree to go swimming in the deserted hotel pool stripped down to the undies? Would a woman who wants to be faithful really agree to go out with an old boyfriend, drink until two in the morning, then go back to his hotel room and talk about old times? The film has an adolescent quality to the portrayal of fidelity and infidelity, and then, after an hour and a half of set up, the film ends abruptly in such a way as to avoid dealing with the any of the consequences of the actions of the characters or revealing the point of view of the writer. The effect is that the film feels more like reportage than literature. I assume that this was on purpose, designed to allow the viewer to draw their own conclusions. However, the ending was so abrupt that I was left with the feeling of having watched a ninety minute teaser headline.
Some really stellar performances from the cast may have helped a little, but there wasn't a lot there. Knightly is a fine actress, but this wasn't one of her better outings. Worthington was wooden and unconvincing. The Burger King guy didn't have much to work with. The only bright spot was Eva Mendes who looked surprisingly comfortable playing the boomba-boomba. Seriously, even more than you might expect.
If you've got nothing else to do and you already have a Netflix account, you might want to give this movie a shot. Or, you may want to watch this at your next Mensa chapter meeting so you can feel justified in keeping out the riffraff.
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