Geoffrey Haley The Last Word

Geoffrey Haley The Last Word
When it comes down to it, The Last Word is a lot smarter, funnier and sincere than most recycled rom-coms that flail their way into theatres every couple of weeks. The problem, however, is that it's visibly amateur, suffering from pacing issues, having many scenes that don't entirely work and a story that muddles about in the second act. Whether one appreciates the film will have much to do with their ability to overlook these freshman faults and appreciate not only the bizarre comedy but also the insights on loneliness, psychic guilt and the overwhelming sense of hopelessness. Evan Merck (Wes Bentley) makes a living by writing suicide notes for those planning on, or at least considering, shuffling off this mortal coil. As we learn through his interactions with a despondent, sarcastic new client (Ray Romano), he comes up with these letters through observation and analysis of his subject, to ensure that the letter is a true testament to the individual. All is fine and well until Evan attracts the attention of Charlotte (Winona Ryder), the sister of an ex-client whose free-spirited idiosyncrasies intrigue and confuse. For those wondering why anyone considering suicide would go to the trouble of hiring a poet to write their note, the film, oddly enough, acts as an examination (at least partially) of just this. Sometimes it's easier to stand on the edge of a cliff and see if anyone will come to the rescue than to ask a stranger to be a friend. Occasionally sad and always unorthodox, there are a couple of hilarious moments involving Winona Ryder's reaction shots to obscure quotes and Ray Romano's dislike of babies and tendency to blurt out highly inappropriate personal anecdotes. Included with the DVD are deleted scenes, which piece together a plot hole involving Winona Ryder's back-story, and a visit to her apartment. (E1)