As much as Netflix is renowned for their quality binge series’, they also churn out cheesy teen rom-com’s almost as frequently as Marvel pumps out new entries in the MCU. Some of these rom-coms are good, some are just a bit of cheesy fun, and then some are just straight up boring. Unfortunately, The Last Summer falls right down into the latter category.
The film follows various teens as they celebrate their last summer before they move off to college. It’s a simple enough setup to have some fun with but there are so many subplots and character groups with little to no crossover that it’s a bit of a mess. Most people will check this one out for the cast which boasts names like K.J. Apa, Maia Mitchell, and Tyler Posey, all of whom have appeared in projects of a similar genre to this film. It’s pandering to that specific audience and it knows that, but unfortunately for its own sake, it just can’t deliver on even a decent rom-com with any amount of humour or intrigue.
The Last Summer is less of one singular narrative and more like a web of seperate narratives all occurring simultaneously and sharing the screen-time, similar to a Valentine’s Day (2010), New Year’s Eve (2011), or He’s Just Not That Into You (2009). Sure, there’s one character arc at the forefront but none are interesting enough to really engage you in what’s happening. The main plot-line is concerning Griffin (K.J. Apa) and Phoebe (Maia Mitchell), old friends who spark a relationship and drama ensues. There isn’t much life to their story and aside from one plot detail that has a big impact on their relationship, it’s pretty dry and lifeless. Every other story in here that is following characters other than Griffin and Phoebe is even worse. So when you wan’t a break from the boring core narrative you’re gifted with less engaging characters and subplots that’ll have you asking “why?”.
Sosie Bacon‘s character has her own individual arc which is cute but almost completely isolated. One subplot following co-workers Reece (Mario Revolori) and Chad (Jacob McCarthy) is the one you tune out of and take toilet breaks during. It really is a mess of stories and would have played much better if the entire story focused on Griffin and Phoebe, that way their journey could’ve had a bit more time to flesh things out and maybe even get a decent story out of it.
I don’t believe these stories have suffered due to any of the performances. K.J Apa and Maia Mitchell bring some chemistry and a positive energy to the film which at least lightens the mood during the majority of their story. They bring quite a bit of personality to their characters, and despite their story still being quite average, they do make some moments worth watching. Sosie Bacon is an actor who I am a fan of and she does a fine job here, she just doesn’t have much to do at all. Halston Sage is actually the better of the supporting performances and contributes quite a bit to her character’s story despite also not getting a whole lot of screen-time. Even Mario Revolori and Jacob McCarthy I don’t think were bad, they weren’t great, but they were mainly just trapped in a horrible storyline.
The performances in here are solid for the most part however none are given enough to do to make up for the fact that the story is dull, unfunny, and doesn’t evoke any emotion. The redeeming qualities of The Last Summer are slim to none and with that goes any real reason to check this one out. The only thing drawing in viewers would be the cast, with performances from Apa, Mitchell, Bacon, and Sage being the only real highlights of the film. This is one to skip and even if you’re looking for a cheesy rom-com to watch, this should be last on your list.