Oh, adultery is so cute. It’s just wonderful
when people question their relationships and use an affair to gain clarity.
Because that’s usually what happens when you screw around. Total nirvana.
The Last Kiss
is one of those. A bunch of couples at different crossroads in their lives
experience the problems of relationships in their own unique and quirky
ways. There’s parents to be Michael (Zach Braff) and Jenna (Jacinda
Barrett). This impending birth provokes Michael’s confusion over how
his entire life seems planned out with no surprises. There’s Jenna’s
parents (Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson) whose 30 year marriage is falling
apart because he makes too many jokes.
The Last Kiss Review
There’s Chris (Casey Affleck) who has a baby
but his wife treats him like sh*t. So what if he can’t change a diaper?
There’s Michael Weston who’s so enamored with his high school
sweetheart that he just can’t let her break up with him, so he wants
to go to South America. And of course, lovable ladies man Kenny (Eric Christian
Olsen) has lots of uncommitted sex, so he wants to join the southern adventure.
The problem with all of these stories is they all think they’re so
important. They all think they’re revealing great truths about life.
There may be some universal observations in some of them, but it all comes
down to this specific group of A-holes. It ain’t no American
Let’s start with the big stars. Michael and Jenna. Yeah, it really
sucks to have a plan and be responsible. You should totally just do whatever
your life. It’ll be spontaneous! This really is a fine Jacinda Barrett
vehicle because her character is just the victim in all this. She gets to
act the full range of emotions.
Ah, mom and dad. Okay, maybe it’s insensitive for dad to keep cracking
jokes when she’s trying to bare her soul. Be a little more attentive.
Is this whole subplot really just about wanting more oomph in a 30 year
old marriage? No, they’re mainly props to deal with Michael and Jenna’s
relationship. What kind of father he is to excuse Michael, in even the most
backhanded way, is beyond me. You hurt my daughter and I sick the wolves
There’s definite truth in the husband who just can’t find a
place in his stressed out wife’s world anymore. Lesser things than
having kids can do that to a person. Affleck’s is the most even story.
The high school love was painfully real. It’s hard watching people
change their minds. But then it’s all about the South America trip
as if it’s some big life event. What the hell is in South America
that’s so different? Are we supposed to root for guys to run away
from their problems? Guess it’s better than listening to these idiots
talk about feelings too banal for even an Ed Burns movie.
Kenny’s story did not go the way I expected. It seemed like he was
going to find the perfect mate in a kindred free spirit. It seemed like
he may have some sort of moral voice for the group. But no, he just tags
along on the road trip.
The actors are perfectly fine. Blythe Danner classes up the standard lonely
wife material she’s given. Tom Wilkinson makes the oblivious A-hole
kind of likeable. Jacinda Barrett is totally lovable and it’s heartbreaking
to see her destroyed. Casey Affleck is sympathetic and all Zach Braff has
to do is be confused. That’s kind of his thing now.
Rachel Bilson is totally seductive even though the script casts her as a
generic party girl. The changes from mature vixen to little girl are very
real. You may be hearing a lot about this girl. Apparently she’s on
some show about obsessive compulsives.
The soundtrack is great and may be the saving grace of the film. The songs
mean nothing to the film, just random moments of music when nobody’s
talking, but it’ll be a great album. There’s no score otherwise,
and you’re listening to the life sounds. There’s too much silence,
not because it’s uncomfortable, but because the story is so pretentious
you just want to hear something other than these people talking.
I just wanted one person to tell one character in this film, “So what?
So what if you have no surprises? Like you deserve some. So what if you
lost your first love? Like this is the first time that’s ever happened.
So what if you’re a bored old couple? Like you were such interesting
people 30 years ago.”
What makes relationship movies like American Beauty or
About a Boy great is that people do interesting things,
whether you like them for it or not. You can deal with adultery, or single
parenthood, or teenage rebellion if you have a take on it, or even if you
just feel fun. If you’re just complaining, we can get that for free.