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By Jessica Baxter | February 20, 2008

“Last Stop for Paul” is yet another vanity indie film in which the writer, director and “star” is all one guy. One very uninteresting guy named Neil. I’ll start with saying something nice because I’m told if I don’t do that, I shouldn’t say anything at all. Technically, the film was fine. There was nothing annoying about the editing or the shots themselves. The concept was marginally original in that I’ve only seen it half a dozen times already. Grab a camera and set up scenes in each city to contribute to one big contrived documentary-style plot about two buddies taking the ashes of a third buddy on a trip around the world. The trouble is that the contrivances are so… contrived.

First, there are the Slanguage Lessons. Schlubby Guy #1 overhears a Jamaican man using the word “batty” and demands a definition for the benefit of himself and the audience. (It means a*s). And then to prove he’s learning so much on his trip, he uses it in a sentence later! It doesn’t really make sense to call Schlubby Guy #2 a “batty face” after he gets ripped off by some Jamaican scam artists, but he does it anyway. In Slanguage Lesson # 2, the Schlubbs meet up with some Irish guys who go on and on about trying to find good “craic.” If you didn’t know that the word (pronounced “crack”) means “good times,” you might have found this misunderstanding hilarious (“Sorry dudes, we aren’t into drugs.”) but I doubt it.

Another irritating contrivance is all the “craaaaaazy s**t” these guys get into. I do not believe that there is a bar in Santiago, Chile that is full of only women. Straight women. Who are just waiting for 4 white guys to come and show them a good time.

Contrivances aside, I just don’t care about these characters. I’ve met guys like this. They call themselves “travelers,” but they are deep as puddles and they are merely taking time off from their investment banker jobs to basically get drunk in different countries with other white people. Cultural differences sure are wacky and hey, doesn’t seeing all this old stuff really make you think? The whole thing is tied together with a voiceover that actually contains lines like “I was lucky to be alive, but sad to say goodbye.” Seriously? No wonder we’re the most hated country in the world.

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