Last Laugh (2017) – Film Review
Director: Daniel Coll
Cast: Nick Figgis, John Godber, Jane Thornton
By Ashleigh Millman
It’s clear from the outset that Last Laugh has been made on an amateur budget, and whilst that’s not always a bad thing, there’s a problem with quality that’s hard to ignore. An occasionally overbearing soundtrack and subpar picture can detract from what at its core is a charming comedy.
Following Martin Dawson (Nick Figgis) as he spirals to the bottom of a pit formed through midlife crisis, we’re invited on a journey with a man that has truly nothing left to lose. Committing himself to a stand-up show and pouring out his heart on stage; family traumas, strained relationships, and past heartache all come to the foreground in an hour and a half of cathartic release.
Whilst the film is a little stale or cringeworthy in parts, there are plenty of fun comments throughout that should draw a chuckle, if in the very least because they’re said in a northern accent.
Last Laugh is full to the brim of relatable humour, playing on the foibles that make us human in everyday situations. Figgis in particular plays to his role with casual ease, and in tandem with the amateur production, creates a believable and engaging character rather than slipping into exaggeration that can so often befall comedy films.
Almost all of the actors within the film feel like old friends, with warm northern accents accentuating humour and bringing to life the on-location shooting in Hull.
It’s therefore a shame that it feels so poorly put together. With award-winning John Godber as scriptwriter, the film definitely has a play-like quality to it, with a focus on characterisation and situation rather than technicality.
“Plenty to be appreciated”
There are a few moments that feel forced when it comes to providing laughs, and a particularly over exuberant band that were more cringeworthy than dance-inspiring – but, in fairness, maybe that’s exactly the vibe what they wanted to go for in a film exploring embarrassment.
Overall, Last Laugh has a unique method of delivering its plot, toying with prolonged flashbacks and dramatic reveals. What the film lacks in medium it makes up for in content, providing a micro-budgeted look at family fun and heartache in equal measure.
It isn’t an amazing film, and it would take a lot of work to drive it to that level – but there’s plenty to be appreciated and drawn from when taken in its entirety.