The Last Kiss (R)

Comedy 104 September 15, 2006
By Ella Taylor
Director Tony Goldwyn's admirably understated handling of dispiritingly slender material suggests that if you're pushing 30, you're likely to be fuddy-duddy before your time. Evidently that's a good thing. The topic sentence of Paul Haggis' screenplay whacks you over the head early on, when 29-year-old Michael (Zach Braff), a slacker disguised as an architect, announces that everyone he knows is "in crisis." Michael, whose girlfriend Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) is several weeks into her first pregnancy, signals his panicked unreadiness for fatherhood by affirming his undying love while gazing into the middle distance with furrowed brow. Their immediate circle of friends faces similar life-cycle dilemmas, and it comes as no surprise when a coopful of chickens comes to roost at a lavish wedding. Goldwyn directs with a precise appreciation for those moments when life forces into the open the unhappiness you've been stubbornly sitting on for years. Still, for a movie that's morally tilted toward the virtues of shacking up and settling down, The Last Kiss takes a dreary view of matrimony's uxorious pleasures. Haggis has a bad habit of shouting at the audience, and what worked for the over-the-top hysteria that was Crash feels like too much information, too loudly offered in a putative chamber piece.
Tony Goldwyn Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson, Tom Wilkinson, Blythe Danner, Casey Affleck, Marley Shelton, Michael Weston, Lauren Lee Smith, Eric Christian Olsen Paul Haggis Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Marcus Viscidi Paramount