The Last Kiss

I heartily agree with most of the NY Times review of The Last Kiss. It's yet another movie about a man with a Peter-Pan complex ending up with a woman who is too good for him.
Michael (Zach Braff) is about to turn thirty and despite the looming milestone, he appears to have a rather perfect life set up for himself -- which is the source of his "crisis." He feels there aren't going to be any more surprises in his life (conveniently, he's ignored the fact that his girlfriend just got pregnant, something they hadn't planned on and would seem to me like it would be a pretty big surprise for Peter Pan).
The pregnant girlfriend is Jenna, played by Jacinda Barrett. She is the best thing in this movie (but I wish she would have articulated more anger towards the end). Michael recognizes "she's smart, she's beautiful, she makes me laugh... if you absolutely have to become an adult and all that comes with it, this is the kind of woman you want to do it with... right?" Of course, we're just supposed to accept that as a given with this beautiful girl because she isn't fleshed out very much - we're told that she's finishing a dissertation, but we're never told what it's about and the only deeper side we see is her discussion of relationships, be it her own or her parents'. Despite that, Jenna's only fault is in loving this loser. She's not even pushing Michael on the M-word (though her mother clearly would prefer the wedding to happen before the baby arrives). Michael tells her that they can discuss it when she can name three great couples that have lasted longer than five years - she can only come up with her parents and a pair of geese at the pond because geese mate for life.
Naturally, though, Jenna's parents don't have the perfect relationship. Blythe Danner is the dramatic mother who feels her marriage close in on her and flails out at her husband, throwing perfume bottles and old affairs at him in an effort to make him react. Tom Wilkinson (who is wasted in this film) has one scene to label him as sarcastic, another to call him quiet and restrained, and yet another where he's supposed to offer the true insight as to what it takes to make a relationship work.
The rest of the supporting cast consists of Michael's lifelong friends whose lives all seem to be falling apart, too. If he'd had a few less friends, perhaps we could have gotten some deeper storylines out of them. We ditch one friend at the start as he gets married, though his wedding is the forum for introducing the other storylines (and it also gave the movie a chance to feature lesbian sex at the bachelor party). Izzy (Michael Weston) is still hopelessly in love with the ex that has just dumped him after years (proving that, yes, sometimes long-term relationships do end). There's another friend who has wild sex and then freaks out when the girl tries to introduce him to her parents. Chris (Casey Affleck) is the friend whose storyline didn't end up on the editing room floor, mainly to juxtapose Michael's potential future with Chris's current nightmare. Chris's marriage is falling apart, his wife is exhausted, and their new baby isn't helping them stop fighting, which apparently means Chris must face the inevitable, painful choice of staying in hell or leaving his wife.
This doesn't bode well for Michael and then he meets Kim (Rachel Blison from the OC). From this point on, Michael doesn't even make real choices so much as let Kim reel him in as she asks him if he wants her number, if he wants to accompany her to a party, and if he'll come and see her in her dorm room (using the tried-and-true line "I just really need to talk to you").
Jenna, of course, finds out that Michael is out with another woman and as they fight and talk with locked doors between them, we're supposed to believe that these two kids have a shot. And I might have allowed them that shot if, after they fought about Michael kissing Kim, he didn't leave Jenna and go sleep with Kim. Jenna's dad gives Michael the advice that you do "whatever it takes" to make it work, which evidently means Michael must simply camp out on their porch for days, wearing her down with his clever tactic of sitting.
In the end (and don't read on if somehow you haven't guessed from my tone how this all turns out), she opens the door and he walks in. This ending doesn't give us a definite reunion, complete with passionate, reconciling kiss as the credits come up, but shows that at least they're talking.
He doesn't deserve her, I hope we're all agreed on that point. I won't totally advocate holding out for perfection, because relationships do take a lot of work, but not all relationships are worth holding onto. If you go with the father's definition that it's what you do to the people you love that matters, then Jenna should find someone who can manage not to sleep with college girls while she's three months pregnant. No matter what, Michael would have to do a lot more than sleep on the porch to convince me that he was worth forgiving.
Too long a review on a movie I didn't particularly, like, I know, but let me end with something I do find interesting about this movie -- the title. The romantics out there might be expecting this to allude to the idea of wanting someone to be your last kiss, the one you spend the rest of your life with. If you thought that's where they were going, you'd be wrong. The reference is to part of the conversation that Michael has with Jenna's father as he explains how he knows that he won't do this again and he loves Jenna. He explains that this little brunette came along and when dad counters with the fact that there will always be little brunettes coming along, Michael says that Kim is the last one he'll ever kiss. Instead of taking the spoony, mushy road, this film is named for the concept of what the main character is choosing to give up as he tries to become an adult and be worthy of the girl. Everything else about the movie wants us to believe in the power of love, but the title's allusion is the last vestige of the Italian film (L'Ultimo Baccio) that this movie based on... something that just didn't translate well in this remake marketed as a romantic dramedy.

But PS... the soundtrack is pretty good. I'll give it that.

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