15 July 1999 | 8wonder
bizarre, captivating and spellbinding
Entertainment attorney Dan (Emilio Estevez), his marriage apparently over, storms out of his Beverly Hills home, thus giving his wife a chance to load her belongings into a hired U-haul and leave him.He forgets his car keys. First mistake in a town where no one walks. Dan isn`t street-smart:leaving the safe cocoon of his marital home and the relative security of his Mercedes behind, it soon strikes him that LA, all the more poignant as it`s the Holiday Season, can be a very lonely place.All his pre-married-life pals have moved on..afterall he didn`t need them until now. The only one available is Jeff (Steven Weber), a super cool night creature who takes desolate Dan for a night on the town that he`ll never forget and turns out to be a decidely off-white knight in shining armour. LATE LAST NIGHT is a very bizarre tale, yet at the same time strangely captivating, unnerving and spellbinding. The crazy world of Hollywood after dark, barely stands still and Dan is whisked through an increasingly outlandish world where anything goes. The constant changes of pace and scene are important, making the audience as disoriented as Dan. Encounters with transvestite hookers, coke whore strippers, drug dealers and dopers might be a normal night out for Jeff, but not so for Dan, who has problems `fitting in.` As the all too laid back and mysterious Jeff, Steven Weber is excellent. His character is a total contrast to Dan, who is at one time rather unkindly described as `nerdy`. Jeff makes all the right moves and says all the right things and Weber plays him with sardonic confidence. However it is Dan to whom we want to reach out, give a protective hug and send him swiftly back to his wife. We desperately need him to see that this underworld of booze, drugs and whores, where the word relationship doesn`t exist is not where he will find the answers to his problems. Even Jeff, who seemingly has no job and has never had a lasting relationship to speak of, is envious: in reality he craves what Dan is in danger of throwing away. The need for love as opposed to sex, is cleverly played out in the music, especially when Jeff and some party people burst into a rendition of Queen`s `I need somebody to love...` This is a highly memorable scene and we are left wondering if this really is Dan`s marijuana initiated hallucination or can Jeff be letting out his innermost feelings? Emilio Estevez steals the sympathy because he makes us feel Dan`s confusion, pain and loneliness. We can identify with his faults: he works too hard to maintain a lifestyle at the high cost of neglecting his marital relationship. That`s why in her parting note, his wife tells him she doesn`t know him any more and it`s a sad fact of 90`s materialism. Probably the most underrated actor in Hollywood, Estevez is always at his best when his characters, like Dan, have an excess of nervous energy to expend. Often they find themselves in situations beyond their control -remember Andy in The Breakfast Club, so cautious and quiet until he cleanses himself of his guilty detention secret, or the wary punk, Otto in Repo Man ? As the over zealous Billy in Young Guns he excelled, forcing us to truly loathe ourselves for rooting for him and lately as the edgy, disturbed Vietnam Vet, Jeremy in the War at Home, we know virtually from the first scene that this young man is a walking time bomb.
Late last Night carries the audience along in a surreal haze of drugs and sleaze where everyone does what they want, with whom they want. As for Jeff, I am not entirely convinced of his existence. Was he really Dan`s alter ego as suggested by the police shrink ? Or even his Guardian Angel sent to show Dan that a loving, secure relationship is not worth trading for a lifetime of loneliness. Dan finally realises that what he wants is back in Beverly Hills loading a U-haul and he has to stop her. We can only surmise to where Jeff has returned. Fairy Tales are meant to have happy endings, but this time we are left to draw our own conclusions as to whether Dan gets a second chance. Give this movie ago the next time its shown , or when it comes out on video. It has it`s faults, but is better than some theatre releases I`ve paid to see latly. The performances are great and Steven Brill`s gratifyingly different story and direction are spot on. It`s well worth a night in with a few drinks lined up...to soak up the atmosphere !