Saturday, August 19, 2006

MovieWatch: "The Last Kiss"

"The Last Kiss"
Director: Tony Goldwyn
Fien Print Rating: 60
In a Nutshell: "The Last Kiss" -- based on the 2001 Italian film of the same name [only in Italian, of course] -- continues the EMO-ization of my generation, a process largely perpetuated by "The O.C." creator Josh Schwartz and by Zach Braff. Although Braff only stars in "The Last Kiss," he also supervised the soundtrack, which flavors the movie so completely that it could almost be a sequel to "Garden State," which will be a positive for some viewers and a negative for others, of course. While Paul Haggis is credited on the screenplay, he was just collecting a paycheck here. The film goes plot point for plot point with the original, almost beginning to end. It's still a male melodrama, a weepy story of guys on the cusp of turning 30, who ought to be men, but refuse to give up being boys. It's the kind of brazenly sentimental, but still masculine, movie that American directors really have difficulties with, and I say that as a big fan of Ted Demme's work on "Beautiful Girls." Goldwyn has serious problems with both the tone and pacing of the movie, though he ties the movie together decently by the ending. For my money, "The Last Kiss" would have been a far better movie if Zach Braff and Casey Affleck had swapped roles, as Casey's hangdog earnestness would have better suited the film's lead than Braff's perpetual edge of irony. Several supporting actors stand out, particularly Jacinda Barrett (suggesting, for the first time, that she's more than just the star of "Real World: London"), Rachel Bilson (melting hearts and suggesting that she should be able to have a big screen career after "The O.C.") and Eric Christian Olsen (suggesting that he can do more than just sitcom mugging). Points also for Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson, representing the older generation.

Expect a real review on Zap2it on September 15.


  1. Anonymous5:20 PM

    this movie makes me want to vomit.

    and yet... i have such a "hate-you" crush on zach braff.

  2. I understand the sentiment on Zach Braff. I sort of get the impression that he might have been cool to hang out with up until the first festival screenings of Garden State. Then he read one too many reviews calling him the Voice of His Generation. If you're the Voice of Your Generation, can you afford to ever just whisper? Or have a casual conversation? Or do you always have to be On? I suspect the latter.

    I think if "Garden State" had never happened, people would also be more enthusiastic about "The Last Kiss," which has a distinct "been-there-done-that" feeling even if you haven't seen the Italian original. If you have, it's like double deja vu.

    I assume that your "hate-you" crush on Braff is very different from my crush on Rachel Bilson...