Film Review: The Last Time You Had Fun (★★★)


11056000_1392208007765418_1420055881_nSometimes all you need is a night of drinking with some random strangers to solve all your problems. Or at least that is the result for the four protagonists of “The Last Time You Had Fun.” You can judge the actual success of that philosophy for yourself, but it’s hard to argue against the results here, as “The Last Time You Had Fun” is a funny ride through the streets of Los Angeles that goes down easy.

The film centers on a quartet of people in personal straits, two separated from their spouses, two in unhappy marriages, though they might not admit it at first. When they wind up meeting at a bar they all commiserate together and decide to keep hanging out and try and have the first fun time they’ve had in a while. In between the beer and the marijuana, they dig away at their problems, but somewhere in the middle they actually manage to have that oh so elusive concept of fun.

Kyle Bornheimer, Eliza Couple, Demetri Martin and Mary Elizabeth Ellis star as the foursome, and a large part of the film’s success goes on the chemistry of these characters. All with their own dynamic, the blend of personalities work well together and each actor has a solid handle on who these people are and what makes them tick. No one is above and beyond spectacular, though if forced to choose, Bornheimer’s Clark has a slight edge. Credit needs to be given to Martin and Coupe though, because they play characters who easily could have become annoying and unsympathetic, but they manage to always keep you on their side.

The whole movie is much like the night out the characters embark on. None of them are expecting to have sex with some random stranger or have some great revelation about their life. For an average moviegoer this small indie film is barely on their radar. But, before you know it you are laughing and reveling in these characters antics and find yourself hooked.

A big part of that is the breezy nature of the film. While each character has their issue, it’s not looming over them or rearing its ugly head in unpleasant ways. The story unfolds naturally, with the laughs and painful jabs mixed in and flowing smoothly from scene to scene. The films brevity also helps this; at just short of 80 minutes there isn’t much time to doddle.

That breezy nature does keep it somewhat at a distance, though. The film rarely keeps a single idea or scenario in its crosshairs for too long, meaning the audience can only be let in to a certain extent. It covers all the bases, but is content without delving much further. It’s like an ice cream sundae, perfectly enjoyable, just no sprinkles.

A couple of good sides though, as Charlene Yi and Jimmi Simpson offer fun supporting turns. Yi plays the much put-on limo driver for the group, and while she doesn’t have much to do, her deadpan delivery is a nice addition. Simpson only has one scene, but it is one of the best scenes in the film.

You should never under estimate the benefits of a fun, relaxing night out and you shouldn’t under estimate this little indie, as it will surprise you and provide a fun night all its own.

“The Last Time You Had Fun” releases on VOD on Tuesday, April 7.

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NoVA native who has returned to the Washington D.C. area after two years in L.A. My biggest annoyance since leaving L.A. is not having immediate access to indie films on their first weekend, but I'm making due. When I'm not tracking the year's Oscar players or exploring film history, I'm rooting for my Philadelphia sports teams.