Zach Braff’s continued popularity, and success with Garden State, no doubt enabled the 2006 The Last Kiss film to reach a much wider audience than it did—although not by much. The film, not quite a romantic comedy and not quite a full on drama, faltered at the box office and with critics, not even managing to recoup its budget back, even with worldwide sales taken into account. Although impressively cast, no one seemed sure what to take away from the film and as a result it just ended up being marketed as something much funnier and lighthearted than it really was.
Zach Braff (Garden State, TV’s Scrubs) stars in this hilarious, irresistibly genuine comedy about love, life, temptation and other stuff that seriously messes with your head. Facing the double whammy of his 30th birthday and the prospect of marriage, Michael is at a crossroads. But just as he’s about to kiss his freedom goodbye, he meets a sexy, free-spirited young woman (Rachel Bilson, TV’s The O.C.) who could be his last chance at excitement…or his first step into an emotional free-fall zone. From the Oscar®-winning writer of Million Dollar Baby, The Last Kiss is “a smart, witty, sexy take on the perils of becoming an adult…” (Jessica Reeves, Chicago Tribune).
I consider myself a Braff fan, but aside from Scrubs and Garden State I never made an effort to see any of his other works (his Arrested Development appearance not withstanding). Of course none of his other stuff has really been all that popular, but still; The Last Kiss looked like a genuinely entertaining movie, but for whatever reason, I never watched it. Now I have and I can honestly say I don’t ever want to see it again.
First off, there’s nothing wrong with any of the actors in the film; while Braff plays the same character in stuff it seems, it works for the most part here (and we do see him yell a bit, which is a departure from the usually mopey J.D. from Scrubs). Even the supporting cast is, for the most part, a solid collection of individuals, ranging from Rachel Bilson making her feature film debut all the way to Casey Affleck, who stands out a bit too much from the rest of the cast a bit too much here. In fact Affleck is really the only redeeming quality of this very, very depressing film.
Really, I tried to get into the characters of this film, but everyone is either leaving one another or cheating on their respective significant other. It’s just an incredibly annoying group of people who run around crying all the time and it’s really very, very depressing to watch. Yes, it mirrors real life in more ways than one, but there’s really nothing engaging about any of the characters here (again, Affleck excluded), as none of them really make a concentrated effort to explain why they run off. On second thought, that’s not true; everyone has a semi-valid reason, except for Braff, whose character’s excuse is that he was “scared” (which he repeats ad nauseum in the film) and that’s all we ever hear about it.
If anything, the film suffered from underdeveloped characters more than anything. It really could have been tons better if the characters stayed consistent throughout (Bilson’s character especially; she went from a charming girl to a bit of a nutso), but The Last Kiss appears to have been constructed as nothing more than a group of depressed individuals with pretty faces. A large portion of the supporting cast could have been dropped easily as well, as their side-stories just dragged down the central characters to the film. And yet even after complaining about him already, I feel the need to hammer Braff’s character some more…I mean, c’mon man. You just had a fight with the mother of your child and your big decision is to go and sleep with another woman? Who is that stupid? Who does stuff like that? The hyper-drama “reality” that they present here is really just more unbelievable than anything.
But my complaints don’t end there, I got one left: the ending. I’ve seen some open-ended films before and I genuinely like them if they’re constructed well enough from the start, but nothing in The Last Kiss sets the viewer up for the “well, did she take him back?” question that they’re left with in the film. The film is quite frankly not worth the consideration the ending poses and when the credits rolled I sat there thinking “really? That’s where they’re going to end it?”
Overall The Last Kiss is a very disappointing film filled with a vast array of talented actors who never get to shine. Skip It–you’re not missing anything.
Yet another entry in the “uhh…why?” category, Paramount has opted to release The Last Kiss on Blu-ray, for whatever reason. I guess it must have made enough on DVD to warrant this, but I can think of much better films to release on the high definition format. . Still, those interested can pick the film up in a standard Elite Blu-ray case, complete with grey wash disc art and a standard firmware upgrade notice insert. Menus are also pretty poorly constructed, with a motion-less main menu and a color differentiation that is nearly indistinguishable (being partially colorblind doesn’t help), as the text goes from a blood red to black, depending on your selection.
Video arrives in the form of an AVC encoded 2.40:1 1080p transfer that is what you’d expect from a modern film—crisp, clean, and clear. The wedding sequences especially look nice, but the rest of the film does have a bit of grain to it as the majority of it takes place in dimly lit areas for the most part. The audio mix, a TrueHD 5.1, is underwhelming and also oddly low; I had to turn the volume up a lot higher for this one than I do on other releases. It remained clear at the higher volume, however, so there was no distortion…it just starts out very low for some reason. The alternate language tracks, French, Spanish, and German, are equally low as well, though you can supplement them with English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, or German subtitles if you so desire.
Extras are identical to the previous DVD release and include:
Commentary by Zach Braff and Director Tony Goldwyn
Commentary by Zach Braff, Tony Goldwyn, Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson, Michael Weston and Eric Christian Olsen
Filmmaker’s Perspective (2:33)
Getting Together (25:44)
Behind Our Favorite Scenes (8:27)
Last Thoughts (3:29)
Music Video (3:25)
Deleted Scenes (14:07)
Gag Reel (2:44)
Theatrical Trailer (2:34, 1080p)
None of the extras, sans the trailer, are in high definition. Nor is anything new in the least, so, like the film, this one can be Skipped. I honestly don’t see this one selling many copies.
The Last Kiss is now available on Blu-ray.