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UKScreen Rating:

The Last Kiss – Review

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

Life is perfect for Michael (Braff) and Jenna (Barrett).
They’ve been together for three years, living in a lovely house with a baby on the way. Even without marriage, Jenna’s traditional parents, Anna (Danner) and Stephen (Wilkinson) are beginning to come around to the idea of Michael being the man for their baby girl.
But Michael himself starts having doubts, and just short of his thirtieth birthday, he’s having a premature mid-life crisis, when a precocious college girl, Kim (Bilson), throws herself at him at a wedding. He can’t resist the temptation and he arranges to meet up with her.
With all their friends and family having their own relationship issues, it’s no wonder Michael and Jenna find themselves having problems too.
Michael’s friends (led by Affleck’s Chris, who’s having enough of his own marital problems) are as hopeless as each other as role-models to help him pull himself together and see sense. Oddly, it’s a tete-a-tete with his “father-in-law” that helps to pull him back in line – but by then, is it too late?
Love lives just never go smoothly – especially if Coldplay’s “Warning Sign” features on the soundtrack.

WHAT’S IT LIKE?

On one level, this film is a charming and entertaining dramedy – a warm-hearted study of love and loss – the loss of youth and the loss of love. The songs on the soundtrack are a suitable accompaniment, creating the exact mood sought by the film-makers.
But that’s cheating isn’t it? It means the music, rather than the film it shrouds is having the desired effect. So if you stop and think about this film more deeply, does it work?
Well, the script is oh-so convenient. It kicks off with Michael and his mates at a stag party – then we cut to the wedding – then we never see the groom again for the whole film, while the other friends hang around like a bad rash.
OK, maybe that’s a bit unfair – the friends all seem nice enough, but the film’s not meant to be about them.
All the characters seem to act exactly as required for the story to progress according to its inevitable arc. They appear when required and disappear when the story doesn’t need them anymore.
And of course, in keeping with the genre, the people and the relationships which seem the strongest turn out to need the weakest.
The tone is also slightly uneven – it tries, at once, to be dramatic and comic – while some characters seem to be grounded firmly in reality, others are clearly caricatures.
And the doorstep scene – you’ll know the one I mean when you get there – would’ve been more at home in a film by the Farrelly brothers.
It appears to be an attempt at the kind of lightly-comic pathos Braff does so well in Scrubs, but he’s not trying to do comedy here. And that’s also part of the problem – fans of Scrubs will be hoping for that kind of humour, but this is seeking a different audience altogether.

opens nationwide 20th October 2006

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