The Last Kiss (8/10)
by Tony Medley
Whatís wrong with Jacinda
Barrett (Jenna)? Sheís beautiful and she can act. But she is in movies
with romantic leads, like Jon Heder (ďSchool for ScoundrelsĒ) and Zach
Braff (Michael), who are, well, they are not Brad Pitt or Cary Grant.
And thatís the one thing
thatís wrong with this film. We are supposed to believe that Braff is
such a hot guy that women will be panting at the mere sight of him. The
guyís not a bad actor, but heís not a romantic lead, any more than Ray
Romano is. Letís get right down and dirty. To think that a hottie like
Rachel Bilson (Kim) would see him across a crowded room and fly to his
side is ludicrous. Braff is a guy no woman would look at twice, if they
even looked at him once.
Worse, Braff apparently is
clueless in real life. I saw him on Regis and Kelly promoting this film.
He showed a clip of a dramatic moment in the film and cautioned that the
rest of the film isnít like this; stating fairly categorically that it
is a comedy.
Trust me, this is no comedy.
This is a heavy, well-written (Paul Haggis of ďCrashĒ) study of
relationships. Itís realistic. Unfortunately, apparently audiences are
coming ready to laugh, and laugh they did at my showing. I missed the
screening so went with regular audiences. I came away thinking that my
audience was the dumbest in the history of film, because they were
laughing all the way through. In one scene Jenna is so distraught she
pulls a knife on Michael. My audience laughed. This was not only not a
scene of humor, it was one of the climactic scenes in the movie. And
they laughed. Thatís not because itís a poorly directed (Tony Goldwyn)
or poorly-written film. Itís because Braff and the studios were out
there promoting this film as a comedy and itís not. If youíre going for
humor youíre going to be disappointed.
If youíre going for drama,
this is your cup of tea. Even though Braff doesnít look the part (he
even looks like Romano), he ends up doing a fairly professional job of
acting. And he had a tough job because heís up against Barrett, who
gives an Oscar-worthy performance. Barrett passed the crying test as she
sheds real tears on cue. Braff was at least smart enough not to include
a crying scene. Itís unlikely heís up to it.
Jennaís pregnant and
betrothed to Michael, who is not real sure he wants to get into what
heís getting into. Michael has three friends, Chris (Casey Affleck),
Izzy (Michael Weston), and Kenny (Eric Christian Olsen) each of whom has
relationship problems. They give mixed performances. Affleck is
affecting as the friend trapped in a marriage with a shrew. Weston is
given a flawed part to play, and thatís the fault of Haggis and Goldwyn,
not Weston. The lovesick Izzy is poorly conceived and unrealistic. Olsen
looks and plays the stud for whom a relationship lasing more than 12
hours is overly long, well.
Jennaís parents, Stephen (Tom
Wilkinson) and Anna (Blythe Danner) have problems of their own in their
30-year marriage. Wilkinson and Danner capture their dilemma poignantly,
as each gives advice to their daughter and her boy friend.
Haggis has created another
unique, compelling script. This guy is a winner. Forget the skewed
promotion; this is an involving drama.
September 29, 2006