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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Last Kiss’ puts new spin on turning 30

    ‘The Last Kiss’
    Rated R
    104 Minutes
    Paramount Pictures

    “”The Last Kiss”” may be billed as a romantic film, but it’s probably one of the most depressing, melancholy films you’ll see all year. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though.

    Weddings are supposed to be a time of great joy for everyone. Michael (Zach Braff) just sees the wedding that kicks off “”The Last Kiss”” as putting the final nail in the coffin of his youth. Michael foresees a wedding looming on the horizon in his relationship with Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) because they have a child on the way. The thought of saying “”I do”” terrifies him because every relationship is crumbling all around him.

    Long-time friend Chris (Casey Affleck) can’t stop arguing with his wife ever since their first child arrived, another friend Izzy just got left by his long-term girlfriend and even Jenna’s parents have troubles of their own. Michael can hardly justify marriage; he doesn’t know even three couples that have managed to stay married for more than five years.

    With these thoughts swirling in his head, he begins to have a quarter-life crisis, aided by the young Kim (Rachel Bilson), who catches his eye. The question is whether he is willing to give up surprises for the promise of something that could last forever?

    Screenwriter Paul Haggis proved himself more than capable of linking multiple story lines with “”Crash.”” Here he manages to juggle five different storylines all at the same time.

    Although Braff’s storyline is the main focus, Haggis never leaves the other plots on the backburner; each is balanced out timewise with the others. By fleshing out all the different plots, it helps to get across the central point that no relationship is without its problems and that they all can fall apart in different ways.

    Characters who come off as cheaters or jerks are often hard for audiences to relate to. Putting them as the central players can be troublesome, but between the actors and the scriptwriters, these characters are able to win our sympathy.

    Braff as Michael knows what he’s doing is wrong and works hard in character to flesh out his mental crossroads; a scene where he berates himself in his car for his infidelity makes him appear endearingly vulnerable rather than sleazy. The characters don’t come off as bad at heart, just misguided. The fact that you can forgive them for their childish ways by the end of the movie is a sign of admirable acting.

    “”The Last Kiss”” would fit well into the lineage of midlife crisis movies started by “”The Graduate”” and continued by Braff’s own “”Garden State.”” While it doesn’t offer up any solutions, it lets you know that it’s been there and done that too.

    You may not have learned from your own errors, but maybe your future relationships can benefit from the lessons of “”The Last Kiss.””

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