Earlier this year, the indie sensation 'Brick' featured characters who were still in high school but inhabited a world where they spoke, acted and behaved like adults who had lived their entire lives performing their favourite 40's noir detective film. They spoke like Bogart, but something was amiss – it felt unnaturally staged for our pleasure. For all its gleeful nods to a long lost era, 'Brick' failed to work for me simply because I could never buy the premise. 'The last kiss', the remake of an Italian film from 2001, feels equally staged and out of place for very dissimilar reasons – the characters, men and women in their late 20's, act, behave and speak as if they were still in high school. Adults shouldn't behave this way; it isn't even amusing unless it happens to be an outright comedy. Instead 'Last Kiss' is pumped with lethal doses of writer Paul Haggis' trademark pessimism. The film is tagged as a romantic comedy, but of the many subplots that the film explores, none seem to be on the road to recovery, and there is sparse comedy.
Zach Braf, who by now has mastered that idiot stare of constant bewilderment, makes for a bozo of a leading man. His self aware banter, amusing at first, degenerates quickly. Playing Michael, he is man blessed with the good fortune of a loving, now pregnant girlfriend Jenna (Jacinda Barrett). On the cusp of marriage and fatherhood, he goofs up when, at a friends wedding, he meets a young, stimulating vixen Kim (Rachel Bilson), exchanges phone numbers with her and starts a secret, lustful relationship, to the detriment of his existing relationship with Jenna (again, these are traits of men not acting their age). Braf, at this point, becomes the slave of a screenplay that wants him to fail immensely in this relationship so this movie can exist. His circle of friends, and boy does he have many, fare no better. One of his buddies Chris (Casey Affleck, essential playing the same role from 'Good Will hunting' with leftover spirit) is a father and a husband and fails at being both. Jenna's parents (Tom Wilkinson and Blythe Danner), after years of marriage, momentarily separate after a spur of the moment confession. A thick, black cloud looms gloomily over the town inhabitants. A movie that tells us that all relationships are destined to fail or falter at some point finds itself stuck with a complex paradox when its main character wants to get into a new relationship, that too by cheating. An optimistic look at pessimism is unsuitable, but 'Last Kiss' thinks of itself as a film that has figured out the key to navigating through the complexities of life's relationships.
The men here are all assholes and have a common fear of commitment, the women bond together and form sororities. The moral here folks, and it's a wise one, is that people learn from their mistakes. Don't make one of your own, take whatever you're read above a little seriously and spend time with a loved one instead. - Faizan Rashid