The Last Kiss

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The Last Kiss
Review (6/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

I was expecting a light-hearted romantic comedy going into the screening of "The Last Kiss" that I attended but this movie is anything but. Even on it is listed at a comedy (and a drama) and sure, "The Last Kiss" might have a few laughs here and there but overall, it is a pretty sombre look at love and relationships. Penned by Oscar winner Paul Haggis, the movie focuses on a group of 30-year old pals (including Zach Braff, Eric Christian Olsen and Casey Affleck) and the varying degrees of the relationships that they find themselves in. One of the pals is a newlywed with a young child who cannot handle the crying baby and the nagging wife. Another has just been dumped by a long-time girlfriend and is practically on the verge of suicide. Yet another is the young, good-looking, single, care-free bartender who wants no commitments and has a new woman in his bedroom on a regular basis, or so claim his friends. And then there is the Zach Braff character, Michael, who has a beautiful, 10-week pregnant, girlfriend (Jacinda Barrett) who is the envy of his friends because she is calm, cool, collected and most importantly, she loves him. One of his friends even makes the observation that she is so cool that she should be a guy - I guess for a lot of men that is the ultimate compliment, although I personally prefer my woman to be just that - a woman. But seeing the relationships around him falling apart and getting cold feet with his newly pregnant girl, Michael starts having second thoughts about the whole kinship thing and he is soon wooing a young beauty named Kim (Rachel Bilson). Or maybe it was more her wooing him. Nevertheless, he sacrifices his happy, stable relationship for the old short-lived pleasure and in the end, it all comes back to kick him where the sun don't shine. "The Last Kiss" also stars Tom Wilkinson and Blythe Danner as the parents of Jenna (Michael's girlfriend) who, not surprisingly, have also hit a crossroads in their long-term and seemingly happy marriage.

As I said earlier, "The Last Kiss" is not the movie I thought it would be. For the most part, it's very serious, very sombre and not the laugh-a-minute or complete cheese-fest relationship movie that we are used to seeing. Probably the most difficult thing about watching this movie is its honesty. We have all seen the relationships that the movie presents to us. In fact, a lot of us have probably been in that relationship - the cold-feet, the complete unhappiness, the tremendous highs and the heartbreaking lows, the hesitation and yes, even the cheating. In this day and age, it's seems like it's a fact of life and "The Last Kiss" does not hold back in reminding us. I'd be pretty cynical to sit here and say that the majority of the relationships in the world are like those depicted in "The Last Kiss" but I don't think I am going out on a limb when I say that a lot of us have either been in one of these relationships or know someone very close to us who has. I can tell you that I have been there and done that and it's not fun. Not one bit.

Anyways, about the movie, I thought it was a decent flick. It certainly is well-written and it certainly is a very realistic movie and it certainly is difficult to watch at times. I would suggest that if you are at the crossroads of a relationship or you are having your doubts, this may not be a movie you would want to see. If you have just got the golden boot in a relationship, don't see it. The movie is in your face about the whole thing that much.

I suppose my one problem with "The Last Kiss", besides the sombre feeling of the movie, would be with Zach Braff. I didn't really find him too engaging of a character. Not only did I not understand how he could have not just one but two beautiful women chasing after him, I just found his character to be a bit of a weasel. His whole, "Waaa, it was just one kiss" thing was a bit too much at times. I mean, cheating on your girlfriend is one thing but cheating on your three-month pregnant girlfriend, it's just unforgiveable. To me, Braff seems like a cross between Ray Romano, Gary Shandling and Jon Lovitz. It even got to the point where, in one scene, his pregnant girlfriend is chasing him around with a knife and really, I thought he deserved to get stabbed. If it would have happened, I may have even left the theatre with a smile on my face. When I really think about it, perhaps the only characters in the entire movie that I liked, besides the three-month old baby, were the Jacinda Barrett character and the Rachel Bilson one. They were the only characters with a good head on their shoulders and seemed to be genuinely nice people. But I guess maybe that's the way we are supposed to feel? Who knows.

In the end, despite the fact that "The Last Kiss" is a pretty realistic look at love (and lack thereof), I found the movie to be a bit of a downer. I like my relationship movies to have a couple of laughs and to have some likeable characters and "The Last Kiss" is severely lacking in both those departments. I suppose I should applaud it for not being the cookie-cutter Hollywood romantic comedy and I will say that it's an extremely well-written movie. But if you have a sensitive heart when it comes to love, you may want to reconsider seeing this movie. If you are in a relationship where you or your spouse are having doubts or are no longer in love, do not see this movie - at least not with each other. Otherwise, you may ending up using that knife if ever given the opportunity.

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