The Late Show pretty much divides its time between paying tribute to the private-eye films of the '30s and '40s, and undercutting its nostalgia with a sourer modern note. Carney plays an old, ulcerous 'eye' who gets involved in a complex plot set in modern Los Angeles. Nothing much has changed. The characters are fundamentally the same, and the story matters less than the people. Here, the central relationship develops between the laconic Carney and Tomlin's scatty, neurotic fast-talker. Benton's direction never entirely overcomes the character-acting styles of his stars (particularly Tomlin who, like many gifted impersonators, condescends towards her character). However, Benton's script hits a note of defensive humour that's just right in relation to the theme of urban loneliness. Some great lines and terrific wisecracks keep doubts at bay. All in all, maybe best seen... at a late show.
Cast and crew