(2006)2Cammila CollarIt's easy to see why Zach Braff would choose another Graduate-style existential-freakout movie after the success of Garden State. Unfortunately for him, The Last Kiss is pretty much a crap-fest, even with Imogen Heap hurriedly thrown onto the soundtrack. It's your basic relationship movie where the two main characters wrestle with their issues while the supporting cast members all pop in and out with snippets of their own romantic troubles -- which, of course, vary by circumstance, age, etc. The Last Kiss sets up its premise by following this formula religiously, with Zach Braff as the leading man who's in a "what does it all mean" panic because he's nearing 30 and his girlfriend (Jacinda Barrett) is having their baby.
The movie succumbs to absolute triteness at every opportunity in its rigorous adherence to this particular page out of the Hollywood cookbook, right down to sunny college girl Rachel Bilson igniting Braff's quarter-life-crisis wanderlust when she earnestly places his hand on her heart and delivers the almost impressively unbelievable line, "Feel my heart. Feel how fast it is? It's because we don't ever stop to breathe anymore." All the cheesiness would be more forgivable if this were just your basic popcorn flick, but that's where the first of The Last Kiss' many problems arises. Fluff gets by on charm, but nothing and no one in this movie is charming. The main characters are obscure and distant and their friends are awkward jerks. What's worse is that the way-too-good-for-this-movie Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson play the parents for the requisite "old people have these problems, too" plot device. You might think that the impeccable screen presence of these vets would provide some relief from the ensemble's insipidness, but it just ends up being embarrassing to watch them enact over-the-top clichés that are leagues below their abilities.
Probably the worst problem with The Last Kiss is its glaring attempt to straddle the line between glossy romantic drama and raw, gritty slice-of-life. After all the film's sappy Hollywood tropes, it's just impossible to accept its theme that good people can do unforgivable things, not to mention its fairly explicit sex (Zach Braff fondling Rachel Bilson's behind is an indescribably traumatic cinematic experience). By the time the film reaches its climax, Braff and Barrett actually begin to develop some chemistry, but the context is just too jarring and, sadly for all of us, it's too late to save The Last Kiss from failure.