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Last Day of Summer Film Review

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Abused Janitor Goes Postal in Offbeat Romantic Comedy

Joe (DJ Qualls) is on edge and right at the end of his rope. He's the oft-humiliated janitor at Burger Heaven, a fast food joint being run like a boot camp by Mr. Crolick (William Sadler). While all the workers at the greasy spoon find themselves being the brunt of their boss' abuse, the sadist taskmaster really seems to revel the most in torturing his custodian, teasing the gangly young man about everything from his looks to his intelligence.

Thus, it's no surprise that Joe might be a prime candidate for "Going Postal" in this era when many a disgruntled employee's answer to discontent on the job rests in acquiring an automatic weapon. This candidate's breaking point arrives the day that Mr. Crolick gives him a new toilet brush in front of the entire staff before forcing him to plunge his arm elbow deep into a feces-filled bowl.

Then, to add insult to injury, before he has a chance to quit, Joe's fired for insubordination. So, he quietly plots his revenge, purchasing a pistol and recording a farewell tape explaining why he's about to go on a rampage.

But when he enters the restaurant on the day of reckoning, he's distracted by a cute customer (Nikki Reed) just as he's about to execute his plan. Convinced that the pretty stranger is flirting with him, he decides to take her hostage instead of following through with shooting Crolick. He drags Stefanie off at gunpoint to a seedy motel, where he binds and gags her while frantically trying to figure out what to do next.

This is the novel premise of Last Day of Summer, an offbeat comedy written and directed by Vlad Yudin. Fair warning, this is a flick which asks you to empathize with a copycat psychopath bent on committing Columbine-style mayhem, which admittedly takes a little time to get comfortable with. However, provided you're able to scale that considerable hurdle, the movie is plausible and unpredictable with a pleasant-enough resolution to warrant a recommendation.

Without giving anything away, let me just say that Joe finds a sympathetic ear in Stefanie, a girl who comes with baggage of her own. Thus, don't be surprised if these lost souls ultimately feel lucky to have found each other, despite the bizarre way in which they met.

A Stockholm Syndrome saga giving new meaning to the term "Shotgun Wedding!"

Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for violent images, drug use and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 89 Minutes
Studio: E1 Entertainment

Kam Williams is a syndicated film and book critic who writes for 100+ publications. He is a member of the New York Film Critics Online, the African-American Film Critics Association, and the NAACP Image Awards Nominating Committee. Contact him through NewsBlaze.

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