The entertainment business is full of vicious, cutthroat monsters who would just as soon stab you in the back as look at you.
These clichés about the industry are older than the Hollywood Hills, but the lightweight, low-budget horror/comedy “Too Late” imagines a world where they are quite literal.
Our heroine is Violet Fields (Alyssa Limperis), the put-upon assistant of Bob Devore (Ron Lynch) the popular host of a variety show called “Too Late.”
Bob is demanding, demeaning and dangles the promise of giving Violet a leg up in the business while never actually delivering.
Oh, and Bob is also a decades old monster who devours human victims whole (typically standup comedians) not only for sustenance but to absorb whatever talent they might have.
You can decide which is worse.
Only Violent knows his secret and while she desperately wants out of the arrangement she fears that leaving Bob in the dust would have grave consequences not only for her person, but more importantly, for her career.
While “Too Late” serves as a tidy metaphor for the sacrifices and compromises people are willing to make for a taste of fame and fortune, it doesn’t bring a whole lot more to the table.
The “horror” is played with the lightest of touches and the “comedy” is played pretty much straight up, generating hardly a chuckle from the absurd situation and getting most of the laughs from the personalities of the actors and the various standup comedians showcased throughout the movie. I secretly suspect that’s the whole reason this movie got made in the first place.
This suspicion is driven home by the fact that the biggest name in the whole film, “SNL” alum Fred Armisen, plays Fredo, the unappreciated light and sound technician at Bob’s nightclub, a role that could have just as easily been played by the director’s brother-in-law. Clearly Fred is doing someone a favor here.
Speaking of the director, D.W. Thomas is actually pretty solid behind the camera as the movie has a higher polish to it than you would expect from such a low-budget affair.
The cast deserves kudos for pulling this thing along as well, with all the performers being at least somewhat interesting. Limperis does an excellent job of giving just enough grit to Violet’s adorableness that makes her easy to root for and Lynch is a hoot, making Bob’s monstrous appetite blend seamlessly with the casually callous kill-or-be-killed ethos of showbiz.
While it’s not exactly going to knock your socks off, “Too Late” winds up being a net positive with its general competency and likeable enough cast.
There are definitely worse ways to kill an hour and 20 minutes.
“Too Late” is not rated but features violence, language, drug use and sexual situations.