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DVD Review: THE LAST KISS (BLU-RAY)
Studio: DreamWorks Home Entertainment
Cast: Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Casey Affleck, Rachel Bilson, Michael Weston, Eric Christian Olsen, Marley Shelton, Harold Ramis, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson
Director: Tony Goldwyn
Release Date: April 16, 2009, 9:15 pm
Rating: Not Rated for (sexuality, nudity and language)
Run Time: 01h:43m:42s
ìLife is pretty much in the grays for the most part and if you insist always on black and whiteÖyou are going to be very unhappy.î - Anna (Blythe Danner)
Movie Grade: A-
DVD Grade: B+
Zach Braff is one of those love-him or hate-him kind of guys. His charming, unending wit, and snarky line delivery on SCRUBS has kept that show running much longer than anyone expected. Those same qualities also managed to alienate those who like their comedy delivered in a more straight-forward, Kevin James/Dane Cook manner. Braff wowed both groups with his acting, writing, and directing talents in 2004ís GARDEN STATE, a critically acclaimed hit that put him on at least the independent film landscape. Choosing to follow that up with 2006ís THE LAST KISS didnít exactly rocket Braff to superstardom, though, but this is a great little film that deserves a look, especially now that itís available on Blu-ray.
Sure, THE LAST KISS has some problems and is no GARDEN STATE, but it never tries to be, and Braff never tries to emulate his character from that very personal film. Instead heís Michael, a commitment-phobic twenty something who has a seemingly perfect girl in Jenna (Jacinda Barrett). In fact, Michael, has everything going for him, until Jenna tells him that sheís pregnant. Itís here that the film really takes off and becomes a rare story that nearly every man can relate to. Michael freaks out at the news and thoughts regarding the sudden permanence of his situation and finds comfort and hope for continued youth in the arms of young Kim (Rachel Bilson). At first, whether these two consummate their flirty relationship is irrelevant, as Michael is essentially ìcheatingî on Jenna by simply talking to this beautiful girl, but as things progress, they naturally become more complicated and he is in danger of ruining his life across the board. Itís this sense of danger mixed with the temptation that is Kim, which really powers the film.
Bilsonís performance is a true revelation as she could have simply played the tired, clichÈd role of evil young temptress (credit Paul Haggisí screenplay for assisting in this). Instead, she plays Kim as a naive young woman who unwillingly grows up fast, herself, as a result of her relationship with Michael. Bilson has a great cast to work with too, with Braff being solid in the lead role, but often playing second-fiddle to Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson, who play Jennaís parents, Anna and Stephen, who dealing with relationship problems of their own. Barrettís role is an often hapless one, but she busts out of her characterís screenplay restraints during the filmís powerful, thought- provoking climax. Michael Weston, Eric Christian Olsen, and Casey Affleck also do a fine job as Michaelís closest friends.
Who knows if Zach Braffís film career will take off post-SCRUBS, but even if heís never heard from again, he has a pair of fine films under his belt. Tony Goldwyn helmed THE LAST KISS, and he should be commended for never letting up on the stark realism of the screenplay. Much of what Michael goes through hit very close to my belt, and itís the probability that many men will relate to the subjects touched upon here that makes this an important film. DreamWorksí Blu-ray disc features great audio and video that surpasses the already-impressive efforts on the standard DVD. All of those extras are ported over too, and, sadly, none of them show up in HD. Still, if you donít already own the DVD, this great Blu-ray is the way to go.
Chuck Aliaga April 16, 2009, 9:15 pm