The Last Time

I sure miss Michael Keaton. While he can elevate bad material like “Herbie: Fully Loaded” and “First Daughter,” what he really needs to do is find some GOOD material to work on. Crap like “The Last Time,” a melodramatic disaster about salesmen, is a waste of his talent. Heck, it’s waste of everyone’s talent, even the people in it who aren’t very good.

Written and directed by TV scribe Michael Caleo (“The Sopranos,” “Rescue Me”), “The Last Time” wishes it were “Glengarry Glen Ross” so bad you can taste it. The script tries to recall the “gritty,” “realistic” language of wheeling-and-dealing salesmen … which really just means they swear a lot.

JAMIE: (hostile) All right, Mr. Number One salesman, what’s your advice?
TED: F*** you, that’s my advice.

Ted (Keaton) thinks he’s the Alec Baldwin character in “Glengarry Glen Ross.” He’s the top salesman for a high-tech company (we never learn what they actually make), and he’s ruthless, mean, cynical, and abrasive. Somehow, this translates into sales.

He’s saddled with a new partner, Jamie (Brendan Fraser), a fresh-faced younger guy who was the No. 1 seller back in Ohio but is struggling here in dog-eat-dog New York. He’s a naive idiot with no common sense, and you wonder how he ever sold anything, anywhere. His fiancee, Belisa (Amber Valletta), is a little more practical, and wonders if her husband-to-be will ever make anything of himself.

Naturally, the only option is for Belisa to have an affair with Ted. This occurs on Jamie and Belisa’s bed, with Jamie there next to them, passed out drunk.

The film gets less believable from there.

Caleo can’t keep a consistent tone. Fraser acts like he’s in a broad, farcical comedy; Keaton, as mentioned, thinks he’s in “Glengarry Glen Ross”; the musical score suggests steamy made-for-the-USA-Network late-night drama; the story is pure soap opera trash; the dialogue is generally too ridiculous to be real but not clever enough to be funny.

To top it off, there’s a huge twist in the last act that is hilariously bad, like something out of a parody of tawdry melodramas. Except there’s no parody here: Caleo really wants us to take this seriously.

The performances are not bad, and Keaton makes you glad to see him even when it’s in garbage like this. But why waste your time? You’ll be bored and annoyed by the 30-minute mark.

D (1 hr., 36 min.; R, pervasive harsh profanity, a fair amount of nudity, some strong sexuality.)