Friday, September 15, 2006

The Last Kiss

The Last Kiss
Directed by Tony Goldwyn
Written by Paul Haggis adapted from a 2001 screenplay by Gabriele Muccino (L'ultimo bacio)

At first glance, it seems like screenwriter Paul Haggis wanted to get away from the heavy drama of Million Dollar Baby and Crash and make a simple romantic drama. But after this, I can safely say Haggis never does anything simple. And that's the downfall of his latest screenplay, directed by actor Tony Goldwyn.

The plot involves Michael (Zach Braff) who is expecting a baby with his perfect three-year girlfriend Jenna (Jacinda Barrett). Like many men, Michael has commitment-phobia, especially since all of his surrounding friends have relationship problems--Chris (Casey Affleck) and his wife in a loveless marriage with a baby boy, Izzy (Michael Weston) has just had a bad break-up with his girlfriend Arianna (Marley Shelton), and Kenny (Eric Christian Olsen) is a perpetual bachelor--not to mention Jenna's parents Anna (Blythe Danner) and Steven (Tom Wilkinson) having trouble rekindling passion after thirty years. At a wedding, Michael meets another perfect woman in Kim (Rachel Bilson) who clearly wants him and hopes that his confusion in his current relationship translates to having him all by herself.

To cheat or not to cheat, Michael must decide. It's a tough decision--both women are extremely attractive and would be perfect for anyone interested--he has to weigh the established, mature relationship against the newer, potentially more exciting one.

If this had been the movie, had the love triangle been set up from moment one and carried the movie from there, we might have had a winner. The Last Kiss spends entirely too much time on the crises of his friends, it serves to hammer relentlessly the idea that love is difficult for everyone. Losing screen time in all of this is the winning Bilson, who lights up "The O.C." whenever she appears and does the same for this movie. She's a warm, welcome presence every time she enters. I think the love triangle the movie sets up is the perfect kind, one that I always preach about--the decision should be difficult, and it is.

All of the performances are good across the board. In addition to Bilson, I thought Tom Wilkinson made the most out of his limited screen time. But like I said, if only the movie could have steered clear of the detours, it would have been better. As is, it's par for the course and I'd recommend it on date night.


At 9/16/2006 12:28:00 AM, Blogger Amy said...

I can't wait to see this movie this weekend. Although it is considered a chick flick by some of my friends, I cannot wait to see how the whole decision process works out. Maybe Haggis was trying to show real life, where everyone has issues and it is like five people fighting for the spot in front of the mirror. Plus, if I remember correctly, Braff's character is dealing with turning 30 and figuring out what his life should look like instead of just living it. Now I may have gotten an incorrect read from the previews but. . .I think that is what I gleaned from it.

At 9/17/2006 03:00:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

You're absolutely right about what this movie is, Amy. Hope you enjoy it.

At 9/24/2006 07:17:00 PM, Blogger Amy said...


I finally got to see the movie and it was good. I thought it was great how Tom Wilkinson's character points out to Braff's that love is not just a word, it is an action. I am going out on a limb but maybe the reason for such a high divorce rate is when life gets too predicable or tough, people bail. Life is always full of surprises but if you start to question it or try to make it exciting all of the time, you lose focus. I would be curious to see those couples who quit because it is no longer "exciting" a few years down the road, would they still be in the same spot but just with someone different?

Just curious. I enjoyed the movie and it made me think, which is always a sign to a good movie, in my opinion.


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