Upper-class fetishism and real-estate eye candy is the order of the day in Tom Dolby and Tom Williams’s Last Weekend, an ensemble dramedy in which the persnickety Celia Green (Patricia Clarkson) gathers together the members of her dysfunctional well-to-do family—fitness tycoon husband Malcom (Chris Mulkey) and their thirtysomething sons, Theo (Zachary Booth) and Roger (Joseph Cross)—for Memorial Day weekend at their cabin in Tahoe. The setting, a lavishly rustic lakeside “cottage” that’s more akin to a mansion with its multiple bedrooms, guest house, and servant’s quarters, is the site of frivolous bickering, specious declarations, and “cathartic” moments of personal revelation, the sort of platitudinous hooey reserved for second-rate YA fantasy novels. The array of conflicts include both sons’ supposedly disastrous careers, a groundskeeper (Julio Oscar Mechoso) who has a horrible accident and must be airlifted to the hospital, and the not-so-hidden secret that Celia and Malcom are selling the vacation home, attracting the unwanted attention of a nosey neighbor (Judith Light) whom the family collectively despises for apparently being slightly more gaudy with her wealth than they are. The characters’ puerile behavior and self-serious view of their various non-problems may be authentic-seeming, but the filmmakers are content to idealize everyone’s unchecked narcissism and idle privilege—an inquiry-free recipe for disaster in an age when the American wealth gap is wider and more detrimental than ever. By the time the film reaches its abrupt climax, a character revelation so forced and banal that it almost feels like parody, the audience has been completely alienated from these unsympathetic drones who wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.
- Sundance Selects
- 94 min
- Tom Dolby, Tom Williams
- Tom Dolby
- Patricia Clarkson, Zachary Booth, Chris Mulkey, Joseph Cross, Devon Graye, Jayma Mays
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