Directed by: Tony Goldwyn
Premise: While the romantic relationships of his friends begin to collapse and facing an impending baby, a middle age man (Zach Braff) is tempted to have an affair with a carefree college student (Rachel Bilson).
What Works: The Last Kiss is an extremely well written and well-acted piece of work about the anxieties of burgeoning middle age. Although its subject matter could have ended up in the style of a sentimental Lifetime Channel movie, the film has a lot of humor, especially from Michael (Braff) and his friends. The humor deflates the film, keeping the drama grounded and the characters likable even as they make terrible decisions. The acting is very strong especially by Jacinda Barrett as Jenna, Michael’s pregnant girlfriend, who has the burden of carrying and conveying the outward emotional weight of the film. The film also features a well-done relationship between Jenna’s parent’s played by Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson. The dysfunction in their relationship makes a nice point-counterpoint to Michael and Jenna and gives the parents more to do than just play referee. One of The Last Kiss’ more extraordinary features is its writing of the female characters. The film is able to avoid the clichéd pitfalls that usually beguile this kind of film. Rather than make the women merely dutiful girlfriends, overbearing wives, or oversexed college co-eds, The Last Kiss portrays its women as human beings with sexual desires but does not limit them as characters to their libidos.
What Doesn’t: The Last Kiss is fairly predictable. The plot follows the conventions of the coming of age relationship story and the ending is a little too positive for what has come earlier in the film. Some may see it as a ray of hope but others may see it as a cop out.
DVD extras: Commentary tracks, featurettes, music video, deleted scenes, gag reel, trailer.
Bottom Line: The Last Kiss is an exceptional film about the period between early adulthood to middle age and the film has something to say about that age and about modern love. Despite a few flaws, The Last Kiss is still a strong picture that is enjoyable even by those who normally do not like romances.
Episode: #129 (February 11, 2007)