The Last Kiss Review

September 21, 2006

The Last Kiss is a romantic comedy about how depressing life can be at age 30. Zach Braff ("Scrubs") stars as Michael, the soon-to-be-30-year-old who doesn't know what to do with his stagnant life. Jenna (Jacinda Barrett), his girlfriend of four years, is pregnant and they're considering marriage. Michael's friends include a recently married guy who wants to leave his wife, a sex-crazed womanizer, and an overly emotional guy who just experienced a terrible breakup. Everything takes a spin for the worst when Michael meets Kim (Rachel Bilson), an attractive college girl, as not only his life but others' lives around him all begin to fall apart.

Everything about the story sounds like a great romantic drama about life and how to live it, but the story falls way short of expectations. There are multiple subplots between Michael's friends and Jenna's parents that all are jumbled together on top of Michael and Jenna's own disaster. The story lines are always falling in between each other and never gel; when one couple breaks up, another has a romantic and happy moment. There was no structure to connecting these stories together, and The Last Kiss just becomes a mess as a result.

Much of what makes a romantic drama so powerful is the heart behind the characters and their experiences in the movie. Many of scenes in The Last Kiss would show the characters' emotions coming out in heated arguments and fights, but really never brought out the true heart behind the emotion. In even the most powerful scenes where Michael and Jenna are screaming it out, there was nothing more than repeating, in the actor's tone, the script's lines. This is where the heart needed to really stand out and it simply did not. In turn it changed The Last Kiss from a would-be powerful romantic film into another bland comedy.

The Last Kiss was not entirely dissatisfying; it had a number of shining moments. The best three minutes were the last three minutes, overlaid with the warm voice of Coldplay's Christopher Martin and their song "Warning Signs." This evoked a similar experience to the ending of Donnie Darko and the exhilarating final few minutes where Gary Jules' "Mad World" brought the movie to an emotional conclusion. Zach Braff's unique comedy also brought some truly genuine moments to film, as did Jacinda Barrett's charm, and often times, anger.

Last Word:
The Last Kiss doesn't live up to the hype of being the great sequel to Garden State that it's claiming to be. Although there are some truly enjoyable moments, The Last Kiss is generally a mess of stories and lacks the heart that makes a romantic movie so memorable. If you love Zach Braff and his humor, then you just may enjoy it. He's got the quirkiest sense of humor that shows up often and guarantees plenty of giggles. But if you're looking for something to help you overcome your own problems with relationships and life, then it's not worth the ticket price.

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