Jhe seemingly unstoppable rehabilitation of Mel Gibson continues with this Hollywood comedy thriller in which Gibson practically trolls us by playing Alastair Pinch, a near-bones version of himself a few years ago. Pinch is an alcoholic actor accused of violence against women, although in the film his character is arrested for killing his wife, while in real life Gibson did not contest a battery charge. And yet, we’re supposed to think he’s charming and lovable because he can quote pieces from Hamlet (which Gibson once played, in 1990) and plays sweetly with his kindergarten daughter (Sophie Fatu). At least this semi-satirical fiction, adapted by Howard Michael Gould from his own novel and effectively directed by Briton Tim Kirkby, acknowledges that forgiveness is always around the corner for movie stars, no matter how imperfect. , as long as they have good public relations and a good box-office draw.
Gibson is actually just a secondary character in Last Looks; the real protagonist is an ex-cop private investigator named Charlie Waldo (Charlie Hunnam) who is hired to find out who killed Pinch’s wife. Still licking his wounds after he ended up sending an innocent man to prison where he died, Waldo now lives a life of monastic simplicity and owns only a hundred items, including a mobile home, a pet chicken named Chicken and a bicycle. It creates a slight mirth when he has to cycle around Los Angeles, famous for its cars – but it’s the peripheral characters that generate the laughs, especially the ever-welcome Rupert Friend as a cynical, barking studio exec. sworn and aggressive negotiations on the telephone with an interlocutor who turns out to be his child. Morena Baccarin is on hand as an old flame and Lucy Fry becomes a blonde schoolteacher who isn’t as sweet and innocent as her floral tea dresses suggest.
All in all, it would be pretty bouncy and fun if it wasn’t for the miserable Gibson in it. Isn’t the industry awash with aging stars who might as well fill the role?