The Last Shot

Jeff Nathanson

After his beloved but depressed dog kills herself by intentionally launching into his hot tub paws first, FBI Agent Joe Devine (Alec Baldwin) becomes even more dedicated to his work bringing down the mob in the 1980’s after the Castellano hit made headlines around the globe. Hatching a radical plan to bring down crooked gangster Tommy Sanz (Monk’s Tony Shalhoub) and also ensnare John Gotti, Devine goes undercover as a movie producer in this comedic action film based on a true story by Catch Me If You Can screenwriter and first time director Jeff Nathanson.

Finding the key to becoming a fake player by impersonating high powered and slightly off her rocker Hollywood mover and shaker Joan Cusack, Devine hears script pitches from a public bench on the street from passersby until he finds the one he decides he’ll “produce.”

He greenlights the screenplay of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre employee Steven Schats (Matthew Broderick) who, tired of living above a noisy dog kennel to the stars with his high strung actress girlfriend Valerie (Calista Flockhart) jumps at Devine’s offer to work on his labor of love script Arizona which he’d penned with old west re-enactor Marshal (Tim Blake Nelson). Steven seems like Devine's ideal choice as a newbie who’s green enough to compromise his artistic vision and go along with Devine’s decision to relocate the shoot from the desert to Providence, Rhode Island which he dubs the "Arizona of the east."

Once in Providence, Joe and Steven are shocked to learn that seductive A-list actress Emily French (Toni Collette) wants a part in their film and soon they are well on their to beginning production, as Devine’s real FBI assignment starts getting lost in the shuffle.

“The True Story of the Greatest Movie Never Made,” as the tagline dubbed it, Nathanson’s Last Shot was based on Steve Fishman’s article “What’s Wrong With This Picture?” which further researched revealed documented a real sting operation to infiltrate Boston mob teamsters via beginning a fake production on a film with an aspiring director who never knew what was going on. The real director of the first sting, George Moffly, sadly, according to IMDb has yet to direct a film although he’s been involved with the filmmaking process on other pictures in various capacities.

Despite the ingenious set-up, it seems nearly impossible for the final product to give The Last Shot the justice it deserves since Nathanson’s script is always changing tone from drama to comedy (similar to his Terminal script) and there are far too many characters to keep straight. However, this being said, it’s an entertaining behind-the-scenes time-waster that's sure to amuse movie buffs.