Last Shot Love (Short Film)

21 May

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Smith’s Verdict: ***1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

It’s good that the comedic short films, “Last Shot Love” by Nolan Dean and “The Discontentment of Ed Telfair” by Daniel Campbell, were screened in the same block at the Little Rock Film Festival. Playing two comedies with terrific setups and great punchlines delivers all the more laughter and enjoyment, especially after having to endure quite a few “artful” projects. “Last Shot Love” is somewhat broader in comedic style than the latter, but the laughs are still there and they come as a punch to the gut (or in this case, a shot to the…well, never mind). It has a great buildup and a surprising, unexpected, hilarious payoff that I won’t forget anytime soon.

“Last Shot Love” is about a love-struck 30-year-old named Michael (Brian Villalobos) whose platonic relationship with the beautiful, appealing Annie (Akasha Villalobos) constantly has him thinking of more than just being friends. For ten years, Michael has been working up the courage to ask her out on a date. When he finally does, he’s foolish enough to take advice from his friend Colin (Seth Kuhn)—well, “foolish enough” for us anyway, since we all know that most “best-friend” characters in romantic comedies are some of the most unreliable schmucks to come across.

Colin gives Michael the idea to stage a seemingly harmless presentation to further impress Annie on their date, and make her fall in love with him. But wouldn’t you know it—something goes terribly wrong.

I won’t give away the last five minutes of “Last Shot Love” because the less you know, the more you’ll wind up laughing at the payoff. But to that point, the buildup is funny because it’s relatable. The character of Michael is relatable (for men, anyway) as he’s just a guy caught in a girl’s “friend zone.” This is a guy who just seeks just one date with this woman for the sake of the possibility that there might be something between him and this woman. I’ve been in that situation more than once, and I bet every man has. And of course, there’s that other possibility that states that if this date doesn’t go well because these two people (who are already good friends), then things would be quite awkward and the friendship would be ruined because of that one damn date. (Man, I hate when that happens…)

So it would make sense that Michael would listen to Colin and go to certain extremes in order to make Annie fall for him the same way he has for her. And again, without giving away the utterly-hilarious surprise, those “extremes” that one should take when attempting this approach…should just take caution of what they’re getting themselves into.

I thought I could see where this was going; I wasn’t even close. And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

“Last Shot Love,” written and directed by Nolan Dean, is a funny, engaging 15-minute film. The writing is fresh, the actors are good (especially Seth Kuhn, who’s a riot as Colin), and the payoff…you know what? I’m going to stop talking. Go see the film—it’s still in its festival run, and it’s worth the trip to see whenever and wherever you can.

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