A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that while this film has the shape of a romantic comedy -- young men afraid to commit while their partners are ready -- it's labeled a "dramedy" and includes some unusually explicit sex scenes (naked bodies and some thrusting visible) and language (lots of the f-word, as well as other profanity and sexual slang). The plot follows young men and women (and one set of parents) who can't agree on commitments, with one child and one pregnancy involved. Acting out their disagreements, characters cheat on one another and lie. Characters drink frequently, smoke cigarettes, and, in one scene, share a joint.
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What's the story?
THE LAST KISS follows four friends facing adult responsibilities and commitments. Feeling as if he's "in crisis," Michael (Zach Braff) typifies the group: His "perfect" girlfriend Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) is unexpectedly pregnant. As Michael sits frozen at her parents' dinner table following her announcement of their good news, his face is plainly panicked, but no one around him sees. Chris (Casey Affleck) is feeling similarly out of control, partly because he's recently had a baby with his wife, Lisa (Lauren Lee Smith). Both Chris and Michael see a nightmare version of themselves in Izzy (Michael Weston), so desperate over his lost love (Marley Shelton) that he begs her to take him back in public (at yet another friend's wedding). They see a kind of ideal in Kenny (Eric Christian Olsen), who brings a different girl home every night. At 29 years old, tending bar in town, long-haired, buff Kenny sees no reason to "grow up." His buddies envy his seeming lack of fear.
Is it any good?
While it features lots of well-acted, loosely connected dramedic sketches-as-scenes, the movie's general direction is all too clear and conventional. Based on Gabriele Muccino's L'Ultimo Bacio (2001), THE LAST KISS makes light of the men's inabilities to speak their concerns and desires, in part by setting them against needy, sometimes sitcommish women. Since the movie mostly takes the boys' points of view, Lisa is never shown without the wailing child on her hip, demanding that Chris help her, because she is -- yet again -- exhausted. From his perspective, she and the baby are almost frightening: They wait outside the bathroom door for his emergence while he hides his face in his hands, worrying at his own resentment. Aside from repeated shots of Lisa-with-baby and Jenna worrying about her parents, who are on the verge of their own break-up after 30 years of marriage, the movie includes a particular temptation for Michael. Lovely, preciously young college student Kim (Rachel Bilson of The O.C.) takes an inexplicable liking to this dour architect, offering herself as his "last chance at happiness."
The men make choices, some poor, some inevitable, while the women wait for them to decide. Michael explains an especially bad decision as a function of his being "afraid." The men will remain afraid, and the women will put up with it.
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