Combustible Celluloid
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With: Alyssa Limperis, Will Weldon, Ron Lynch, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Fred Armisen, Jenny Zigrino, Jack De Sena, Brooks Wheelan, Megan Koester, Jenny Zigrino, Dinora Walcott, Ariana Kaufman, Barbara Gray, Billy Breed, Kimberly Clark, Dwayne Perkins, Raj Desai, Riley Silverman, Paul Danke, Marnie Price
Written by: Tom Becker
Directed by: D.W. Thomas
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 80
Date: 06/25/2021

Too Late (2021)

2 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Comic Rips

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Perhaps a metaphor for showbiz backstabbing, the terror comedy Too Late creates a realistic standup comedy nightclub atmosphere, but seems timid about going much further with either its jokes or its horror.

Violet Fields (Alyssa Limperis) dreams of becoming a comedian, but works as a personal assistant to legendary comic and variety show host Bob Devore (Ron Lynch). It's a terrible job, requiring her to be on call at all hours of the day and night, and putting up with Bob's unpleasant personality. Even worse, he is a literal monster, requiring human beings to eat every so often.

Violet usually satisfies his sinister appetite by serving up sexual predators, etc. One day she meets the kind, sweet comedian Johnny Rhodes (Will Weldon), and they hit it off. But when Bob begins to show an interest in Johnny's career, Violet must do anything she needs to do to protect her him from either becoming Bob's next meal, or a monster just like him.

Too Late director D.W. Thomas casts several real comedians from all walks of life to populate the stage, and it creates an authenticity, as well as a lightness of tone. (Fred Armisen and Mary Lynn Rajskub, who are prominently featured in the publicity materials, appear only in tiny roles.) The movie seems smart and experienced about showbiz, which is not as common as it may seem.

Best of all is Alyssa Limperis as main character April; her appealing, fully-committed performance anchors her scenes. On the other hand, the Bob Devore character never quite works. With his clownish mustache, he seems like an old-timey buffoon, a reject from the vaudeville days, rather than a legendary comic that would command respect from a younger generation. He also doesn't seem like much of a threat, especially when director Thomas keeps most of the nasty stuff offscreen.

The humor, also, feels a little muted, held back from its full, goofy, dark potential. Too Late is likable overall, buts it's just too bad that it couldn't have really cut loose with its killer idea.

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