Henry Jaglom’s Last Summer in the Hamptons is a mildly amusing comedy of manners that evokes the spirit, if not the accomplishment, of Chekhov, Renoir and, most specifically, Woody Allen. A large, extraordinary cast of mostly eccentric performers almost overcomes the trappings of familiar ideas.
Story is set in a lush East Hampton estate and concerns three generations of a large, narcissistic theatrical family, headed by powerful matriarch Helena (Viveca Lindfors). The group is more a commune than a biological family, as it includes students and friends, all mobilizing their creative energies for the annual summer production.
The usual comic and not-so-comic shenanigans are exacerbated by the arrival of Oona (Victoria Foyt), a young Hollywood star whose unexpected visit wreaks havoc on almost every member of the family. She’s presented as a beautiful, rather naive and insecure actress, facing both personal and professional crises.
Most of the film consists of intimate encounters in which the characters bare their hearts and reveal their dreams and frustrations. After 40 minutes or so, pic begins to lose steam and become repetitious. Unlike Allen, Jaglom is not adept in alternating the comic with the more serious.
Magnetic acting helps compensate for the lack of insightful originality in the script, co-written by Jaglom and his wife and leading lady, Foyt.