1½ stars (out of four)
Screenwriters love the final-fling thing. They love it because stories featuring a dying protagonist out for a good time, whether the character truly is dying or comically misled on the point, adapt easily to many genres, from classic screwball ("Nothing Sacred") to modern sentimental screwball derivatives ("Last Holiday").
"One Last Thing " goes more serious than most, and I suppose some people might be entertained by it. I found it bizarre and limp and all over the place and not in a good, messy, lifelike way.
Played by Michael Angarano, Dylan is a small-town, working-class 16-year-old Pennsylvania kid who has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. A Make-a-Wish-style charity grants him a final wish. First Dylan chooses a fishing trip with his favorite pro football player (Jason O'Malley), who takes a shine to Dylan's anguished mother (Cynthia Nixon). But the boy opts instead for a long shot: a weekend with his favorite supermodel (Sunny Mabrey) before shuffling off this mortal coil, a virgin no more.
Much of the movie is taken up with Dylan and his generic pals Slap (Gideon Glick) and Ricky (Matthew Bush) whooping it up in New York City, going to a strip club, getting into trouble, things of that nature. Dylan learns that his Dreamsicle date, the supermodel, is a haunted and self-loathing individual who badly needs an act of charity to make her whole. Screenwriter Barry Stringfellow obliges. As "One Last Thing " lurches from buddy-comedy to pathos, only Nixon--her nerve ends jangling but her eyes full of life--finds ways to redeem director Alex Steyermark's mixture of smarm and emotional blackmail.
'One Last Thing'
Directed by Alex Steyermark; written by Barry Stringfellow; cinematography by Christopher Norr; edited by Michael Berenbaum; production design by Stephen Beatrice; music by Anton Sanko; produced by Joana Vicente, Jason Kliot and Susan Stover. A Magnolia Pictures release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:33. MPAA rating: R (for language, some drug use and sexual content).
Dylan Jameison - Michael Angarano
Nikki Sinclair - Sunny Mabrey
Karen Jameison - Cynthia Nixon
Slap - Gideon Glick
Ricky - Matthew BushCopyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times