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One Last Thing... (R)

Release Date: May 5th, 2006 by Magnolia Pictures.
DVD Release Date: May 23rd, 2006.
The Cast: Michael Angarano, Cynthia Nixon, Sunny Mabrey, Michael Rispoli, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Gina Gershon, Nelust Wyclef Jean, Matthew Bush, Gideon Glick, Ethan Hawke.
Directed by Alex Steyermark.

BASIC PREMISE: Dylan (Angarano), a terminally-ill teenager, makes a last wish to spend a weekend with Nikki (Mabrey), a famous supermodel.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: From the opening scenes when Dylan declares his last wish in front of an organization called the United Wish Givers, One Last Thing…feels consistently absurd. Out of all the wishes he could wish, he chooses to spend a week with a gorgeous supermodel named Nikki Sinclair whom he fantasizes about. Dylan’s mother (Nixon) eventually respects his wish but initially questions him to make sure he’s not being quixotic. Of course, Nikki happens to watch Dylan’s wish declaration on television and convinces her agent (Gershon) to briefly visit him in Chicago. She says hello, takes a photo with him and quickly departs to New York City—but not before leaving her agency’s address with him. Now, Dylan and his two best friends gather up enough money to fly to New York to reunite with Nikki. Once in New York, the plot becomes even contrived, clichéd, predictable and implausible. Dylan’s two friends—clearly under 21—manage to get into a strip club without fake ID. They even bump into the same taxi cab driver in the same weekend. Screenwriter Barry Stringfellow includes a few lines of dry humor, but much of the comedy is simply unfunny. The bond between Dylan and his widowed mother feels awkwardly weak: wouldn’t his mother insist on traveling with him to New York to spend more time with his son? In one of the creepiest scenes, Dylan accepts an offer from a stranger (Rispoli) on the street who ends up briefly taking care of him in his apartment—shouldn’t Dylan know by now not to easily trust strangers? Anyway, it doesn’t really matter whether or not Dylan gets to meet Nikki again because neither character seems realistic enough for you to care about. As for the performances, Angarano makes Dylan a charming, likeable character, but everyone else including Cynthia Nixon, Sunny Mabrey and Ethan Hawke (as Dylan’s father) don’t have enough material to work with. The cab driver (Jean) happens to be the wittiest and most memorable character of them all—much more witty and memorable than this formulaic film.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: According to the wise and imaginative direct-to-video film Interstate 60, one should always think carefully before making a wish. Superficial, tangible and selfish wishes, such as wishing for more money, tend to be the popular choice, but seem rather mundane and unfulfilling. Spiritual wishes, such as wishing to find the true meaning of your life, are much more interesting and rewarding. Dylan chooses a superficial wish that, somehow, make him gain something spiritual from it: it makes him happier. It would have been much more thought provoking, moving and insightful if Dylan chose a more meaningful wish—unless he is really this superficial. With a more interesting wish, he would have been able to learn much more about himself before he dies at a young age. Oh, and, one last thing...if only he had watched Interstate 60 before he made that self-centered wish!

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Absurd and overly-clichéd.


IN A NUTSHELL: Occasionally funny, but mostly contrived, clichéd, and absurd without enough insight or moving scenes.


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