'Last Looks' review: Hammy Hollywood mystery worth a gander
Courtesy of Vertical Entertainment
I’m not sure what one expects turning on Tim Kirkby’s Hollywood comedy/whodunit “Last Looks” but I can ascertain nobody had Mel Gibson hamming-it-up as an alcoholic Brit doing an impersonation of Colonel Sanders on their 2022 bingo card. Indeed Gibson’s campy performance is reason enough to give “Last Looks,” an uninspired riff on the Hollywood homicide formula, a glance because it’s perfectly unexpected and slightly unhinged enough to give this straight to VOD some bravado.
Written by Howard Michael Gould (based on his book), “Last Looks” also benefits from an immensely likable Charlie Hunnman playing a disgruntled superstar detective who has since become disavoed by the LAPD for a past of irregularities. He plays Waldo (easily the only movie I can recall where the lead character had this name) whose days are spent in his trailer out in the California countryside with a chicken. Though he doesn’t wear the badge anymore that doesn’t stop Lorena (Moreno Baccarin), an old flame with an ax to grind and a case to solve from roping the secluded hermit out of his trailer and into the homicide fray for a go around.
She lures Waldo back to Los Angeles so he can try and exonerate Hollywood actor Alastair Finch (Gibson) who is accused of murdering his wife, as network executive Wilson Sikorsky (Ruperty Friend) worries the actor’s legal troubles will sink the studio’s top rated show. What ensures is nothing anyone who's watched a gumshoe detective movie hasn’t seen before (double crossings, punch first and ask questions later etc) but the presence of Hunnam and Gibson, playing the mismatched pair who can’t stop bickering, keeps “Last Looks” rolling. The suspect list might not be that strong and the endgame could be seen from a mile away, however, Hunnam’s jolly and breezy performance is something to behold as he comes into contact with a gorgeous kindergarten teacher played by Lucy Fry and a trio of goons trying to silence anyone putting their nose where it doesn’t belong.
The various motives and forms of justice notwithstanding, “Last Looks” rises above its apparent Wal-Mart bargain bin qualities. It might have the backing of a major studio or the type of star power necessary to sell major tickets (Gibson is still a controversial choice), but it does piece together the mystery in an engaging and revealing fashion that wouldn’t make a sequel following Waldo’s next big case the worst idea. Although, maybe I should be careful what I’m wishing for.
LAST LOOKS is now playing in theaters and available digitally.