My tracking sources are AWOL this week, but Nikki Finke reported yesterday that Bob Shaye‘s The Last Mimzy (New Line, 3.23) isn’t tracking. She said it has/had a “zero” rating, referring, I presume, to the % of those who called it their first choice. That’s pretty gruesome for a film slated to open a little more than two weeks away, but it’s hardly a mystery why no one wants to see it. The title is atrocious.

The use of the word “Last” is bad enough — declaring that anyone or anything is the “last” of anything is recognized worldwide as (a) an unhip screenwriter’s lunge at some kind of half-assed cover-page significance, and/or (b) an old-shoe marketing ploy that lost its snap-crackle in the ’80s. My view is that “Last” was killed off for good with the debacle that was Last Action Hero. The IMDB estimates that 500 movies have used “Last” in their titles, and more than half of them as an adjective. Even New Guinea cannibals and eight year-old kids in Afghanistan are sick of it.

“Last” is half-tenable only if it’s attached to an unusual irony or semi-intriguing condition, such as The Last King of Scotland since the film is not “about” Scottish royalty or castles or kilts but a malevolent Ugandan dictator. But otherwise forget it…”last” equals hackneyed.

Adding the word “Mimzy’ sends the title over the falls and crashing onto the rocks. Who knows or cares what a Mimzy is? Adding “Last” as a modifier only increases the indifference and mystification. I saw Shaye’s film (a not-half-bad thing for kids, but not original enough alongside Spielberg’s E.T.) at Sundance, and I can’t remember the Mimzy particulars, much less what it means to be first or last or in the middle of the line. On top of which Mimzy is a name for a doll or a kitten or a puppy…gimme a break.

Kids under 10 are said to be into Henry Kuttner‘s collection of short stories that being sold under the same title, but are they? (The screenplay is said to be based on a 1943 short story called “Mimsy Were the Borogoves.” Yes — the spelling doesn’t agree with Mimzy…go figure.)