The Last Man is set in a post-apocalyptic near-future, where the human race has been annihilated save for three survivors. Alan, a rotund graduate student, at first believes that he is the last human on earth. He attempts to document the remainder of his life on video and, at the same time, educate future races about the philosophy and traditions of a group of South American Indians he had been studying. Alan learns he's not alone when he surprisingly encounters Sarah (Star Trek hottie Jeri Ryan), the world's last human female. Lucky for Alan, she's quite a beauty -- the kind of woman who would never give him the time of day if there existed even the least bit of competition. Of course, this isn't a concern until the handsome yet dense Raphael appears on the scene, providing an instant threat to Alan.
Sarah rejoices; Alan's not really her type, but the strapping good looks of Raphael are certainly worthy of her affection. Alan grows jealous of their blossoming relationship in rapid fashion and summons every cunning bone in his body to expose the shallow Raphael as a pretty package lacking any lasting substance. The love triangle takes shape and, given the circumstances, these folks find themselves in quite the proverbial quandary.
Ralston takes a fairly amusing premise and strips away any semblance of wit thanks to his clumsy direction and painful, one-note script. He and D.P. Michael Grady frame shots with the ineffectiveness of first year undergraduate film students. It looks terribly bland and the director resorts to tossing in some gimmicky camerawork, presumably to purport some shred of creative vision. Although the screenplay contains a few humorous lines, the individual scenes often times drag on far too long. A sense of pacing is mainly absent severely dampening the earnest attempts at comedy. The acting is serviceable, but hardly warrants sitting through the 90-minute duration of the film.
Ralston seems to use his low budget to try and justify his amateurish effort, but the novelty of his weak execution wears thin from the outset. In the end, what's meant to be a quirky, fun little film winds up a monumental bore. Apparently the filmmaker's creative process ceased after the conception stage.
For the record, Roger Avary executive produced this project, proving that even Oscar winners can lack good judgment. In short, I wouldn't recommend this film if it was the last movie on earth.
Editor's Note: While I didn't find the movie as loathsome as Warren, I agree that it's hardly great cinema. Screening it on DVD, you will likely find the extra features -- including auditon tapes, production footage, and deleted scenes -- to be as tiresome as the main event. Two commentaries, one from the director and cast and one from the director and Roger Avary, are curious if you're into indie filmmaking -- I suggest sticking with the first one because it has Ryan giggling constantly.
In the future, cotton panties are in.
Run time: 95 mins
In Theaters: Friday 15th February 2002
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
IMDB: 5.5 / 10
Director: Harry Ralston
Screenwriter: Harry Ralston