Zach Braff .... Michael
Jacinda Barrett .... Jenna
Casey Affleck .... Chris
Rachel Bilson .... Kim
Michael Weston .... Izzy
Eric Christian Olsen .... Kenny
Marley Shelton .... Arianna
Lauren Lee Smith .... Lisa
Blythe Danner .... Anna
This movie is both typical and not typical of Zach Braff: it isn't funny, cute, and light like Scrubs, but it is soul-searching in many ways, some of which are mightily uncomfortable. In The Last Kiss, we follow a group of friends from Madison, Wisconsin, through the problems, highlights, and downfalls of their late-twenties/early-thirties relationships. Michael (Braff) and his girlfriend Jenna (Barrett) are having a baby; Chris (Affleck) and Lisa (Smith) already have a baby and are stressed to their limits; Izzy gets dumped and wants to move to South America; and Kenny doesn't want to be tied down to any one girl.
The movie starts with them at a reasonable place: they seem sorta stressed out as a group, but everything they're encountering seems like normal stuff and they just need to come up with coping mechanisms. About a quarter of the way through the movie, however, every single character's actions could be described as despicable, terrible, or horrific (there's no murder or death, but there were points where I was like, please don't let this person die in a car accident because they're driving while insanely angry). People cheat on each other. People are tempted by younger, less "final," more attractive people. People threaten to leave, stab, or blackmail each other. Some are overly emotional while others aren't emotional enough about what's happening to them. Marriages of 30 years crumble; relationships of 3 or 4 years crumble. There is sex where there shouldn't be any. Basically, the movie enters a dark, dark place full of rain (why does it always rain on Zach Braff and John Cusack when they're having bad days?) and discomfort.
Eventually, though, and about twenty minutes after the audience really needs it, The Last Kiss regains some hope in the face of complete social destruction. Married people talk to each other; boyfriends and girlfriends talk to each other; babies stop crying. Even though the entire world of these people in Madison pretty much fell to pieces, there is some hope--though, for the audience, it's too little too late.
I didn't cry when I watched this movie, but I was annoyed throughout most of it. The characters make really, really stupid decisions. It was like a horror movie, except I didn't say "No, don't go in that door" because there was a psychopathic killer behind it--I said it because it was the exact opposite of what that character should have done if he wanted to keep his great life. I know this movie was based on an Italian movie with the same premise (L'Ulitma Bacio) and it was adapted by someone who's not Zach Braff, but it felt like Zach Braff was just forcing all these terrible things to happen in this movie and not even trying to do the right thing. In the middle, I told Xander, "This movie feels too much like real life. I want a movie that's a movie, not a reflection of what people actually do that's stupid." (That's how I felt about Garden State, too.) And I still feel that way: I didn't like the way this movie compacted the fear of marriage and the anxiety of "real life" into ten characters and then didn't make any real statement about it. It was like, here, watch these characters ruin their lives, and have fun not being able to do anything about it, and then go back into your lives and have fun seeing the same things there and still being unable to do anything about it.
The Last Kiss isn't a movie I would buy or watch again. It was traumatizing, really. I agree that there's a humongous fear of getting married and having kids that prevails in the late-twenties culture. And I also think that movies and other media don't truthfully portray what it means to be married and to have kids. But this movie just freaked me out--now I never want to get married, never want to have kids, and basically I never want to grow up. I already felt like that before this movie anyway, but then I don't really know what this movie was going after--it's not exactly realistic, but it's not entirely fiction either. It feels like immature, exaggerated wannabe drama. Which isn't good. So, I recommend this movie if you feel like having a rotten night questioning your relationships and your future goals and everything you ever thought went into being an adult.
Not really recommended at all: C-