THE LAST KISS (2006)
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Zach Braff
Jacinda Barrett
Rachel Bilson
Casey Affleck
Michael Weston
Eric Christian Olsen
Marley Shelton
Blythe Danner
Tom Wilkinson
Lauren Lee Smith
Harold Ramis

Tony Goldwyn



Time: 104 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Drama/Romance

SYNOPSIS: As he approaches 30, Michael (Braff) is confronted with permanently settling down with longtime girlfriend Jenna when she discovers she's pregnant. Feeling trapped by his seemingly planned-out future he begins a secret romance with a college co-ed that will force him to decide how much freedom he really wants.

BOTTOM LINE: While I applaud Braff and his boys for attempting to showcase the feelings of men when it comes to relationships and committment, I don't think this film will aid their cause for sympathy or understanding. None of the four male leads comes off very well, mostly confirming by their bad behavior the selfishness and poor judgement of the male stereotype. Braff is likeable enough, until he starts to freak out and carry on with the cute and nubile but hardly scintillating girl played by Bilson. The fact that she knows he's in a relationship made me want to slap her. It's not like he's not to blame for his actions, but men are notoriously weak when tempted with meaningless sex.

Then the film tries to make her out to be a victim of his anxiety and need for adventure. How are we supposed to feel sorry for a girl who can't understand why the men she sleeps with never stick around? Perhaps, she'd have better luck dating if she picked single men and didn't sleep with them on the first date. She pursued him with her eyes wide open. The fact that she expected him to leave his girlfriend only proves her stupidity. They have a certain chemisty that mitigates the awfulness of their actions and the fact that no one in his life seems to have a happy relationship (except for him) doesn't help matters.

In the end, what makes the film hard to swallow is that he was content with Jenna. They were even planning to get married and have a family, so her pregnancy shouldn't have been that big a shock to his system, especially since they clearly weren't exactly being careful in the bedroom. That he would be nervous, scared and somewhat dismayed to find himself forced into "growing up" is all understandable and I was with him until the moment he crossed the line. If I had been his pregnant girlfriend, I probably would have done more than curse at him like a sailor and threaten him with a butcher knife.

Barrett has the thankless role here, but she's not just the poor girlfriend, giving Jenna real charm, class and honest emotions you really connect with. Wilkinson and Danner are brilliant (as always) as her parents, who are going through a love crisis of their own. Braff, along with Affleck, manage to barely keep you rooting for them by manning up and taking responsibility for their doltish, hurtful actions. I guess in the end I wanted this to be less realistic and more funny. This film should be required viewing for every 14-year-old girl to show them what most men, despite their best intentions, are really like and what their future probably holds.





"Life is pretty much in the grays for the most part and if you insist always on black and white... you are going to be very unhappy."

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