Where Garden State was sweet, complex and vulnerable, The Last Kiss is cynical, adolescent and manipulative. There’s no doubt The Last Kiss wants to delve into the human soul the way Braff’s last film did, but it can’t resist acting like a big kid and going straight for the money shot. All the emotional capital it builds up in the many tender emotional scenes is quickly squandered on cheap thrills (panting sex scenes anyone?) and childish displays of fidelity. How are we supposed to take a film seriously when the main character solves the biggest crisis in his life by sitting on a front porch for days on end, hoping his estranged lover will let him inside?
But, despite these flaws, The Last Kiss remains watchable enough. The likeable cast give equally likeable performances, with Casey Affleck doing some particularly good work. Funnily enough it’s the older cast members - Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson as Jenna’s parents – who offer the most compelling performances. The subplot about their loveless marriage is about the only thing in the film that really rings true. As for the much anticipated film debut of the gorgeous Rachel Bilson, she is convincing enough as a coquette, though where just where personality ends and performance takes over is a little uncertain.
It might seem unnecessarily harsh to condemn The Last Kiss as a failure. After all, at least it has ambition and wit, even if it wastes them. The filmmakers could have just churned out yet another slapstick comedy or effects driven actioner. And yet you can’t help but feel irritated by how close they come to being great.
- Alistair Fairweather
Don't be fooled by the presence of Zack Braff - The Last Kiss is nothing like his last film. This is adolescent male fantasy masquerading as sincere human drama.
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