Tales from the dark side

The Last Kiss
Starring Zach Braff, Casey Affleck, Blythe Danner and Jacinda Barrett. Directed by Tony Goldwyn. Rated R.
Rated 3.0

Zach Braff is a lost soul. At least he plays one on the big screen.

The Last Kiss takes him once again out of his scrubs (the first time was in Garden State) to play depressed. Life just seems to be getting him down—this time it’s a predictable relationship that causes him to stare blankly into space.

The film follows Michael (Braff), who’s on the verge of turning 30. Michael freaks out after his girlfriend, Jenna, gets pregnant, and he begins to evaluate his life. He looks to the future and sees no more surprises. Cue cute younger woman, Kim (played by Rachel Bilson from The O.C.), to screw with his mind.

Michael and Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) aren’t the only ones hitting hard times. Jenna’s parents’ relationship is rocky. And of Michael’s friends, one is unhappily married with a baby and another goes a little crazy after being dumped by his high-school sweetheart.

The characters are unsatisfied, each in their own way, and they struggle to figure out what to do about it. Will taking a road trip to South America be the answer? Maybe filling the void with someone else or simply moving out would do the trick. Deciding between sticking it out and jumping ship is no easy task.

Braff plays depressed convincingly, despite being best known for his TV comedy Scrubs and slightly resembling Ray Romano. The rest of the cast isn’t half bad, either, and that’s what ultimately makes the film work. Anything less could have turned this remake of the Italian film, L’Ultimo Besio, into a TV movie.

While fairly depressing, The Last Kiss does a good job of examining the darker sides of relationships—affairs, feeling unappreciated. Nobody’s private life is perfect. And the film doesn’t choose sides or offer up an easy solution, which is refreshing.

Coming out of the theater … well, let’s just say I found myself quite happy to be single. Who needs all that drama?

On the other hand, the movie takes a hard look at the crappy things people do to each other—and these are normal people, not sociopaths—and invites them to stop, take stock of the situation, and decide whether or not it’s worth it. That’s a pretty good message.