Released: 3rd May
Seen: 5th May
No one really expects much from a teen rom-com. Not really, they’re so formulaic at this point that the second I say a teen romcom there’s only a certain amount of things that are going to happen. It’s going to involve either seniors or people between high school and college, all of whom are played by TV actors in their twenties. Every plotline revolves around this couple who were a cute pair of friends as children but now they have hormones so, therefore, they’re into each other, they go on several dates that they never actually call dates and talk on the phone until eventually, the conflict happens that’s brought on by one of them withholding an arbitrary bit of information that leads to a temporary break up that’s undone 7 minutes later with some massive gesture of affection that warms the broken heart just enough for it to mend itself and bring them back together. If you go through any of these teenage romcoms, that’s just a series of events that will happen and films stand out when they put a twist on that plot or add interesting characters with a lot of well-written jokes… or you could just not bother, that works too.
The Last Summer follows several people throughout their final break between high school and college and all of them have such different stories that it would be foolish to even try to go through them all, but I’m a fool so I’m going to try. Griffin (K.J. Apa) and Phoebe (Maia Mitchell) are the main couple having innocent meet cutes while Phoebe works on making a film and Griffin works on his music, much to the chagrin of his father who may also be having an affair. Meanwhile, Alec (Jacob Latimore) and Foster (Wolfgang Novogratz) are spending their summer refurbishing driveways while dealing with their romantic lives where Alec is stuck in an unfulfilling relationship and Foster is trying to bang every woman on a checklist. Meanwhile, Reece (Mario Revolori) and Chad (Jacob McCarthy) get mistaken for adults in a bar because they wore suits and so get beers without being carded and end up going on dates with fully grown adults despite them being 18. Meanwhile there’s another plot about Audrey (Sosie Bacon) who is babysitting a kid who has the worst stage mom ever and MEANWHILE there’s this other plot with Erin (Halston Sage) and Ricky (Tyler Posey) dating because he’s a baseball player and he happened to land on top of her while jumping for a fly ball… oh god I know I missed something, there’s like 12 plots and none of them matter.
Not only do none of these plots really matter besides the one with Griffin and Phoebe but none of them even connect with each other. I wouldn’t be shocked if it turned out the first time the cast met each other was on the red carpet because none of these plot threads link up. This isn’t just a group of friends and they’re all having adventures, it’s a dozen people who tangentially happen to be having their summer break in the same general location but they don’t in any way really relate to each other. There was a large chunk of the movie where I didn’t even know that these characters were in the same town until literally one scene where they’re all on a beach at the same time, not even talking or interacting in any way but they just happened to all be on this same strip of sand around the same time.
They also just happen to not really have anything important to do with their plots. Basically, the film circles around and everyone ends where they began. There’s no pact, no plan, no big growth moment for anyone except Griffin and Foster and both of those characters big growth moments are not even really that big, one just chooses to be themselves and the other has sex… congrats, that’s your character growth moment for the movie. Hope it was worth waiting 90 minutes to get there… spoilers, it wasn’t.
We don’t even really get that much comedy out of this romantic comedy, which is a shame because these are pretty good actors who could’ve really delivered some good jokes. There’s a lot of genuine charm with the talent on screen, I actually like a lot of the actors involved and the ones I haven’t seen before were pretty good, but when you’re given nothing to work with there’s only so much that you can do. When they do get a joke or a moment of physical comedy, even that doesn’t quite work. The jokes are just not really there, which would shock me if I didn’t also know this film was written by two of the people who made The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature… Oh, by the way, we’re getting a third movie in that franchise because clearly, we did something horribly wrong at some point.
It’s clear that this movie is made for a very specific audience of teenagers who like watching Riverdale and Teen Wolf and want to see what the leads of those shows look like when they do a movie and that’s great, I did the same thing with far worse movies (Date Movie had Willow from Buffy in it, you better believe I was seeing that thing in cinemas and pretending I liked it because an actor I liked was in it) but this movie just has nothing to it. It’s not even that it’s badly made, it’s not. It’s average and seems to revel in staying average, never pushing for greatness and never falling into being awful. The Last Summer is a movie you put on when you need to have sound in the background and don’t want to actually pay attention to the movie. That’s it; it’s a big ball of “This exists” and nothing more.