"The Last Laugh" Is Chuckleworthy for the Olds
I really enjoyed this movie, which stars Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss as a couple of retired show business guys who go on one last road trip. I wasn't sure what to expect, quite frankly, because so few comedy movies and TV shows that I've seen recently are funny. They usually have gross-out scenes for the 13-year-olds to enjoy, or they have weird, quirky characters that are absurd, but not funny. The characters in this movie are very real, yet they're funny. They tell lots of jokes because it's about comedians. Trailer
Al Hart (Chase) is a retired manager of comedians. He doesn't want to be retired, but he has no more clients, and his granddaughter is pressuring him not to live alone anymore, due to a few accidents he's had. He reluctantly goes to a retirement home, where he sees Buddy Green (Dreyfuss), an old comedian that he once represented. Chase and Dreyfuss have great chemistry, which makes this movie work. I was surprised that Dreyfuss played the comedian, and not Chase, since Dreyfuss has always been an actor, not a comedian, and Chase is most well-known for his comedy. However, Dreyfuss is a great actor, and he was hilarious in this role. Chase is more serious than usual in this role, but you will recognize the dopey behavior that he's displayed in comedy roles of the past, such as the clueless dad in the "National Lampoon's Vacation" movies.
The movie has a nice blend of comedy and sweetness that's rare in most movies. Usually the filmmakers go overboard with silliness, or the movie is overly sentimental, but this one has a nice balance. I was also worried that it might have a sad ending, since it's about widowers that are close to the end of their lives, but it really doesn't. I found the ending to be completely satisfying.
Hart convinces Green that he needs to go back to being a stand-up comic. 50 years earlier, Green quit to become a podiatrist, just before he was supposed to appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show." He's been content with his successful business and family life, but it's also clear that he missed being on the stage. Green and Hart travel to different towns, where Green tries out his act. It's fun to see how his confidence grows and his act gets more professional. Hart promises Green that he can get him on "The Tonight Show." Andie MacDowell (who's 20 years younger than either of these guys) plays a free spirit that Hart meets along the way. Kate Micucci, whom you may recognize from "The Big Bang Theory" or "Another Period," plays Hart's granddaughter. There are some great cameos by real stand-up comics George Wallace and Lewis Black, as well as veteran comic actor Richard Kind.
There were only a few things that I didn't like: they kept mispronouncing "Tijuana" for some reason; the film's version of Lubbock was nothing like the actual city; and there's a strange fantasy sequence that came out of nowhere. These are minor flaws, though.
I noticed many bad reviews of the movie, which surprised me. I think that if you're over 50, you'll appreciate this movie a lot more. I'm glad that Netflix has realized that it's not just Millennials that binge their streaming content. Watch it now!