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The Last Party Reviews

Negligible documentary tracing the efforts of actor Robert Downey Jr. to find "truth" by looking into America's social and political concerns at the time of the 1992 Presidential campaign. While the film touches on a myriad of important issues, it never goes beyond a superficial level, and Downey's half-baked humor weakens the overall impact. Shot mostly in Los Angeles, New York City, and Houston, THE LAST PARTY pieces together ideas through Downey's interviews, his personal commentary and fanciful shtick, and a blending of montage sequences with music, sound bites, and voice-overs. This last device helps set the stage as Downey explains how his generation must define its own beliefs because it has known only the deceitful American government of Vietnam, Watergate, and so on. While in Los Angeles, Downey stops at the former movie studio of his idol Charlie Chaplin, whose films embody the type of creative social criticism that he is hoping to achieve. But in a blink of the camera, Downey is in New York, where he visits Madison Square Garden, the site of the Democratic National Convention, and other parts of the city. By aligning himself with Chaplin early on in the film, Downey creates expectations of biting social satire, but his self-indulgent attempts at humor usually fall flat. His self-abnegating "goat-boy" routine is excruciating, and his protest against boredom--which involves wearing only his undershorts in a crowded park--is painfully juvenile. Moreover, instead of using comedy to make a meaningful critique of the American political system, Downey trivializes issues and ideas; as he sets out in search of "truth," Downey admirably embraces a kind of Emersonian self-reliance, but his attitude often seems so frivolous that it is difficult for the viewer to take him or his quest seriously.