Set amid the soulless glass offices of a business machine company in Westchester County, N.Y. -- specifically the milieu of the stressed-out salesmen, desperate to meet their quarterly quotas -- "The Last Time" is a movie that strives for contemporary noir in tone but feels closer to an ineffective parody of James M. Cain filtered through faux David Mamet dialogue. Writer-director Michael Caleo, with a TV scripting background ("Rescue Me," "The Sopranos"), makes a feature debut that shows little feel for either genre or credible characterization.
Michael Keaton stars as Ted Riker, a hard-charging super-salesman, a snarling Terminator in reflective shades who chews up and spits out his cringing colleagues, cowed boss and uncooperative buyers with callous equality.
He's paired with Jamie (Brendan Fraser), a purported hotshot from Ohio whom he immediately dismisses as an idiot (for good reason).
Ted's nihilistic, misanthropic shell vanishes once he lays eyes on Jamie's blond bombshell fiancee, Belisa (Amber Valletta), and their spontaneously combustive affair triggers apparent meltdowns for the men. Ted loses his edge, displaying a completely improbable second personality, and Jamie loses his mind, becoming a psychotic, off-his-meds idiot (compared to the garden variety he'd been earlier).