The Last Kiss Movie Review
Garden State 2? I think not. Zach Braff follows up his 2004 hit with The Last Kiss, a movie that was advertised as a relatively lighthearted romantic comedy but that is actually a rather serious and mature look at relationships.
Braff stars as Michael, a young man who has it all - a great job, a nice home and a beautiful girlfriend. When his girlfriend (Jacinda Barrett) gets pregnant, he is happy, but at a friend's wedding he meets another beautiful girl in the form of Rachel Bilson, who is better known as Summer from the now defunct Fox series "The O.C." Torn between two lovely women, the decision is tough - except he loves his girlfriend. Nonetheless, against his better judgment and the advice of his good friend Casey Affleck, he goes on a date with the college-aged girl - and kisses her. It isn't long before his girlfriend finds out and his life is turned upside down.
I had a friend who saw this movie and described it as one of the most boring, disappointing and depressing films of 2006. I can see why: if you go into a movie you expect to be a romantic comedy and end up watching a drama where couples cheat on each other and do other stupid things to destroy their lives, you're not quite getting what you paid for. For me, however, I went in with low expectations and came out with a pretty good drama. Every character is flawed, but in a very believable way. Despite the fact that Braff messes up big time, you can sort of understand why he did what he did. It is tough for a film to depict a man who cheats as someone to cheer for, but The Last Kiss pulls it off.
Braff is pretty good in the lead, and while he isn't amazing (drama-comedy is more his style), he fits the bill quite well. He isn't ugly but he isn't Hollywood-attractive either - in other words, he's just a normal guy. Bilson is good in a supporting role, as is Affleck, but it would have been nice to see a little more of Barrett, who, despite being a key player in the story, gets very little character development.
The Last Kiss is by no means a sensational film, but it is a quality drama. Those who like realistic character dramas that stay at least somewhat away from the standard Hollywood mold should be entertained by this honest look at relationships.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.