THE LAST KISS

Directed by Tony Goldwyn. USA. 2006.


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From the pen of Paul Haggis (Crash) and starring Zach Braff (Scrubs) this could be seen as a sequel to ‘Garden State’ but rather than the free-spirited nature of that film, this one makes a clear attempt to show men slowing down.  

Braff plays Michael who is nearing 30 is with his live-in girlfriend Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) who is pregnant. Following that is a wedding, another clinical scene of a romantic comedy or dramedy as this leans more towards.  At the wedding he meets Kim (Rachel Bilson), a 20 year old who excites and likes him - he goes on a date with her which causes much disagreement and trouble as only it will

Watching this I found it akin to ‘40 Year Old Virgin’ in its interpretation of male characters who are wandering around looking for a reason and a role in their society.  Whereas 40YOV was funny and each male role was fully formed by the comedy and the situation because Andy asked each of them for advice.  Alternatively here Braff asks his prospective father in law (Tom Wilkinson) for advice he boils it down to ‘Whatever it takes’, which is pretty useless considering he is losing.  This is in part down to the production and the centrality of Braff; by the end of the film two friends are forgotten about, and whereas Braff stays and fight for his family, the other two leave for South America.  The only other male with a decent storyline is Casey Affleck is left holding the baby as he comes to terms with the effect a baby has on a marriage.

The film is based on ‘L’Ultimo Bacio’ (written by Gabrielle Muccino who recently directed ’The Pursuit of Happyness’) an Italian film from 2001 and it follows an European trend of closure leaving a lot of strands undisclosed and in limbo.  This is in line with recent American cinema - you cannot always have a happy ending, but in a film that firstly attempted to be a romcom then has a personality bypass halfway through - it a shame the ending is so sudden after investing  such time in characters and a situation the lack of resolution is frustrating.  Especially when although some stereotypical characters appear all are acted well especially by Barrett, Bilson and Affleck.

Jamie Garwood
 
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