The Last Man (review)

The bad news is, you’re a schlub of a guy. The good news is, you’ve just met the girl of your dreams: she’s smart, funny, sexy as hell. The bad news is, her attitude reeks of “Not if you were the last man on Earth.” The good news is, you are, which is making her reconsider. Writer/director Harry Ralston, in a wonderfully accomplished feature debut, gives us what may be the first apocalyptic romantic comedy — it’s the end of the world as metaphor for how we scuttle relationships, and it’s a remarkably apt one. Alan (David Arnott), an anthropologist, is making “a serious documentary on how not to screw up the Earth,” his legacy to some future sentient species, and his theory is that emotional detachment is the key to survival, that love and affection and possession invariably lead to jealousy, rage, and armageddon, and he’s doing just fine detaching himself from the new doomsday reality… until he meets Sarah (Jeri Ryan), who’s all right and all wrong for him. What kind of kick in the pants is it when the last girl on the planet tells you she wants to date other people? What kind of kick in the pants is it to discover that you’re not, in fact, the last man on Earth, that you’ve got young, dumb, and studly Raphael (Dan Montgomery: On the Line) for company? The ineluctable and final loneliness of the apocalypse heightens the poignant bittersweetness of this impossible triangle so that the black comedy surrounding it hits you at moments right in the pit of the stomach. Romantic disasters certainly do feel like the end of the world. Here, they are.

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