Reviewed by: Misty Wagner
|Featuring:||Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Casey Affleck, Michael Weston, Adam Schroeder, Rachel Bilson, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson, Lauren Lee Smith, Marley Shelton|
|Producer:||Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi|
“We all make choices. What’s yours?”
I had anticipated the release of this film for so long that I had convinced myself there was no way it could fail my expectations. Sadly, it failed them in so many ways, while somehow managing to exceed them as well.
From the impression I got, “The Last Kiss” was intended to be a story about choices. Not simply choices though, but about how our choices affect our relationships. I felt like it was intended to be relatable, while attempting to be genuine. It was clear that the film wanted to seem raw and edgy. This is the part where I would generally sum up the basic premise, but that in and of itself is complicated. On one hand, it’s about four guys who are close friends—each dealing with their own unique romantic relationship complications. We see how their fears, selfishness and choices seem to change everything about their lives. To pretend that is the premise though, would imply that this film is endearing, and it isn’t.
You have Michael (Zach Braff) and Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) who are unmarried and announcing to her parents that they are expecting a baby. From that comes the fears and pressures that apparently the typical man in that situation would feel. Shortly after those overwhelming details begin to confuse Michael, Kim (Rachel Bilson) enters the picture. She is everything one would imagine the “other woman” to be like—obvious, misleading, determined…
Meanwhile, while all the drama unfolds, and unravels the lives of Michael and Jenna—the audience sits through choppy, random (and often inappropriate and pointless) excerpts from the lives of Michael’s three closest friends (played by Casey Affleck, Michael Weston and Eric Christian Olsen).
I am one of those who is not easily offended. Though I would prefer not to sit through constant offensive language, graphic violence or explicit sex scenes, it takes a lot to make me walk out of a film. I like to be optimistic that these things could find some sort of redemption and that the outcome would be a film that realistically reaches people and touches them right where they need it most. By the time I’d seen the first half hour of this film, I had never wanted to walk out of a movie so badly. The language had been almost constant, there had already been two sex scenes which were worse than several NC-17 scenes I know of (including a lesbian scene at a bachelor party), and the plot was headed in ways that seemed to evoke a sense of dread within me.
Believe it or not, the sex got worse, the language stronger, and there were a few scenes of a girl hitting her boyfriend—and I could go on and on…
There is an underlying theme of forgiveness—when to give it, how to earn it. There is one line, toward the end, spoken by Tom Wilkenson. I can’t quote it exactly, but basically when told that the main character Michael (Zach Braff) loved his daughter, he replied with how that meant nothing. “So what?,” he asked. That means nothing… Love is a feeling that only you can feel. It’s the choices you make and the actions you carry out that mean something.
I’ll admit that I was impressed that such a strongly secular movie contained such a kernel of wisdom and truth.
Artistically, the film is brilliantly acted, the camera work is raw and gritty, at just the right times. The scenes meant to be powerful are shot powerfully and are delivered full of emotion. The scenes which are flat-out offensive are heavy and blatant. It’s clear for anyone watching, that there were significant directions that this story line and movie could have gone. Had they succeeded (and a major amount of editing occurred), “The Last Kiss” truly could have been a magnificent film.
It isn’t though. I predict it will slip through the cracks and be easily forgotten, which is sort of sad because it’s clear that the main actors in this cast put a lot of their hearts into it. Regardless though, I can’t recommend this film to anyone. I know that I will never watch it again. I STRONGLY urge parents not to allow their teens to see this movie.
I am sure any who watch this film in its entirety would agree that there are moments throughout it that are truly convicting. If its purpose were to enable people to stop and think about the choices they make and the outcome that can occur, then it will likely succeed at least a portion of this goal. Especially within the last 20, or so, minutes of this film. I did feel that a small amount of redemption was there.
Perhaps after the intense badgering of the sex scenes, nudity and incessant profanity, I was simply too jaded to see this movie in a positive light. If you truly insist on seeing this movie, judge for yourselves, and let me know while you are at it! I would be curious to know how others are reacting.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Extreme
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.