Bosses can be real monsters. They can suck the life out of you and do their best to not lead you to a path of success if it comes in their own way. In D.W. Thomas’ debut film, Violet Fields (Alyssa Limperis) is a booker for a live variety show that goes by the name “Too Late.” It is headlined by Bob Devore (Ron Lynch), renowned comedian and host of the show. He is also Violet’s boss and a real monster, both in a literal and metaphorical sense.
Set in the L.A. indie comedy scene, the film begins with Violet on a phone call with Bob. The pushy, needy phone call clues us into her hopeless existence. She is presently trying to build up a show of her own at a local cafe but these persistent phone calls have brought her in complete splits.
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With her few mates and L.A’s up-and-coming comedians, she is trying to construct something of her own. However, the constant needy attitude of her boss, who she is entertaining because she needs to climb up the ladder, is holding her back instead of pushing her up. Her supportive roommate Belinda (Jenny Zigrino) seems to agree.
The conflict here is deeper though. It is not just that she is frustrated with her boss, but that she is doing things for him that are actually not pretty great. The not-so-great things involve constantly boosting his ego and feeding him people from the comedy scene that she books.
Yes! You heard it right. Violet feeds humans to her comedian boss, who is also a cannibalistic monster. On full moon nights, he needs to have human flesh in order to survive. It is never mentioned what kind of monster he is or why he acts like a vampire.
Anyway, none of that matters in the film because this monster-movie genre hybrid is used to evoke a metaphor for the show business. Bob’s overt cynicism and downright exploitative attitude towards Violet is one of the many things that the film wants to explore. Violet feeding Bob with asshole men who are usually making a pass on her is supposed to be like a feminist stance in a film that is too full of itself.
None of these thematical subversion work within the context of the film though. Nor does its need to have comedians and the comedy scene in focus. The film is so lazy that it never uses its ripe premise to explore the horrors of trying to make it big in an industry that has suddenly boomed into a fish market. It also doesn’t use its comedic setup to satirizes anything that is remotely related to the struggle of trying to make a name for oneself.
Instead, it just uses these plot points to tell a really lazy tale of a lonely woman who stumbles onto a potential love interest in a place brimming with crass perverts who are too drunk or too high to actually have a meaningful conversation with her. The film, which is actually sold as a horror-comedy never manages to be either though.
The horror is just absurd and odd. The comedy (including a few standup sets) is meanderingly unfunny. I remember not laughing, let alone smirking or giggling at any of it. To add to the misery, the acting here is pretty bad. Everyone including Alyssa Limperis to Rob Lynch seems to be sleepwalking through their roles.
There’s also the usually dependable Fred Armisen & Mary Lynn Rajskub in the cast but even they are completely wasted. While Rajskub gets one scene where she manages to kill it, I wonder why Armisen agreed to do this. He is just there, sitting and looking at the mess that the film is.
Overall, “Too Late” is has its hands full with things that it could have explored. But it does nothing at all. It’s like a bunch of editors decided to go ahead and make a feature film but never understood how to build upon their post-drinking idea. It’s not only dumb but so far removed from the plot it wants to work upon that even the 80 minutes runtime feels like it’s sluggishly limping towards a finish.