Reel Shorts | One Last Thing

by Charles Kirkland Jr.

A lonely dentist makes the discovery of a lifetime in the feature, One Last Thing.

Dylan Derringer (Wendell Pierce) is a lonely Florida dentist with his own practice. In his spare time, he plays golf, alone. In fact, he is the defending club champion at his local course. One day he receives word from an investigator that he hired. His daughter has been found.

Lucy (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) lives in New York City. She works in a bookstore with her girlfriend. She is hotheaded and angry probably because of her worsening medical condition. She believes that the world is a mean and terrible place until Dylan meets her in a café and blurts out that he is her father. Together, father and daughter embark on a journey of discovery as they get to know and love each other.

Written and directed by Tim Rouhana, One Last Thing is the first feature-length film from Rouhana. It is a decently crafted and emotional drama effort by Rouhana that draws from the emotion of love and loss, the connection of fathers and daughters and ultimately the discovery of family. The movie holds any semblance of entertainment in great thanks to the stellar performances of Pierce (Waiting to Exhale, Selma, Suits) and Smollet-Bell (The Great Debaters, Underground). Pierce’s Derringer is perfectly inept and awkward to the world but with a heart as big as a whale.

Conversely, Bell’s Lisa is eyes wide open and cynical closed off to the world and doubtful of her future. In the end, though, their work crumbles under the weight of the numerous cliché lines and situations to which they are subjected.

Rouhana tries to take the audience on a pensive and contemplative journey full of joy and pain, happiness and sadness, gain and loss. However, the story is not original. The plot follows the simple outline of almost any mediocre Hallmark Channel movie. Thankfully, Rouhana did not waste time in the movie, dragging it out any further than it needed.

Another big problem for the movie was the sound level particularly the level for the score. James Lavino (Code Black, Freedom) actually turns in a decent piano-driven score that should highlight each scene well. The big problem is that in most of the scenes, the music is too loud and often distracts and sometimes seems to force the emotional setting for scenes. This is one time there is too much of a decent thing.

Rated PG for mild language, One Last Thing is a “Chicken Soup for the Soul” movie full of inspiration and little perspiration. Sadly, the work of two talented actors is wasted in a film that could have been made for television and shown on any of those lighthearted cable channels we love to ignore. Maybe that explains why two actors whose greatest and most recent works have been on the small screen were cast in the film.

Grade: C-