Gotta love metaphors.
Early in the movie we learn that one of the bathrooms in the fictional Oscar’s Chicken & Fish is out of order because the toiled is blocked up. This has to be a metaphor for the turd that is the movie itself.
…this is basically a quiet, and quietly heartbreaking, movie about imperfect people trying to live their lives with an ounce of hope. The chasm between Stan and Jevon is large, but the shared humanity shows up in subtle ways on their faces. It never offers fake optimism or a promise of change, maybe just a possibility for one of them.[WATCH] ‘The Last Shift’ Review: Richard Jenkins Movie Vivid, Poignant – Deadline
Strange how in the above Deadline review the word race is never mentioned. It’s a pivotal part of this movie and yet the review instead focuses on this being about a small town and differences between the characters. It’s described as “vivid” and “poignant.”
For those who have read our review, we clearly disagree.
…. you’ve been warned, SPOILERS ahead …
Comedies should be at least a little funny
Where is the humor here? Javon is not funny, he’s on probation and working at a job that he feels is severely beneath him. Stanley has worked at that job for almost 40 years and, while he takes his job seriously, he fails to gain viewers sympathy based on his actions and misdeeds.
This is more a drama that has slight — and I mean very slight — comedic moments. The comedy is mostly mean though, like the frozen hamburger patties used as hockey pucks? I asked in my review (click the link at the top of this post to read) if viewers should assume these patties were served to customers? This isn’t funny, it’s the type of visual that disturbs.
I’m not even sure how this film’s subject matter could have been made funnier. Maybe if they got different actors to play the leads and a much, much funnier script. There wasn’t much the actors could do with this overly dry and mostly boring material.
Playing The Race Card
I don’t like how this movie handles the hot-button topic of racism. It doesn’t offer any sort of solutions, or attempt to present any. It seems to tow the line of stereotypes and that severely weakens the film. It could have taken a more dramatic approach, not sold itself as a comedy (unfunny as it is) and tried to show some sort of solution between white and black main characters. Instead, the solution is to prevent something it seems to present as “normal” when maybe in some places in America there are Stanley’s and Javon’s, sure, but what change occurred for either of them?
Javon starts writing again at the end. He’s going to go on and become what … a blogger? A reporter? An activist? We can only speculate, which for some movies works brilliantly. Here, I think it is overplaying its hand. It’s not as smart as the creators behind it might think.
Reviews by Others
What do others think of The Last Shift? It’s going to be a small number this time because out of the 2,000+ blogs I follow very few seem to have reviewed this movie. I’m hoping more will comment on this post and say they saw it and post links to their reviews, if I somehow missed reading, so I can update this post.
Since almost all movies we see get dozens of reviews
- thecurvyfilmcritic / Carla Renata: “The relationship and bond that forms between Stanley and Jevon make this film totally worth the watch. McGhie and Jenkins are masterful at banter and give these characters substance and humanity that extends well beyond the page.”
- Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: “hey, I laughed and was entertained throughout the nice, tight and short 90 minute run time. I am also quite happy that my last new movie viewing this weekend was in a theater and wasn’t a terrible piece of shit streaming film like Kajillionaire or the Secret Society of Second Born Royals, so there’s that.”
- Cinema Axis: “Jenkins, who gives a wonderful turn that physically embodies a man beaten down by years of labour, and McGhie, who conveys the perfect mixture of angst and heart, are great in the film. Each bringing a rich and subtle texture to their roles. However, their fine performances only further highlight the missed opportunities for the film to present truly thought-provoking commentary. The Last Shift is a well-intentioned tale that unfortunately stays too close to the surface.”
- Kings Movie Reviews / Ransom D. Coslett: “There isn’t much comedy, just mostly drama, and unfortunately it’s a let down. The acting from O’Neil and McGhie is good, and they play their roles well, but the story just doesn’t go anywhere.”
- rogerinorlando / Movie Nation: “It’s gassy, not as nutritious as advertised, and in the end not at all filling.”
Linked above and wondering what would be cool to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.
Happy movie watching!