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LAST KISS, THE (2007)

SYNOPSIS:
Michael (Zach Braff) and girlfriend Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) are going to have a baby, but Michael is terrified of commitment. When he meets a pretty, sweet music student Kim (Rachel Bilson) at a wedding, they have a brief affair; Jenna is furious and hurt. Meanwhile, Jenna's parents Anna (Blythe Danner) and Stephen (Tom Wilkinson) are going through a relationship crisis, as are Michael's friends Chris (Casey Affleck), Kenny (Eric Christian Olsen) and Izzy (Michael Weston).

Review by Louise Keller:
A perceptive look at relationships in crisis, The Last Kiss is a romantic comedy that focuses on love when it is blue. The remake of Gabriele Muccino's 2003 film L'ultimo bacio covers all the same ground as the original, describing relationships and emotions experienced at different ages and stages. There's the daunting responsibility of impending fatherhood, the frustrations of life with a new baby and the insecurities of getting older. We also see love through rose coloured glasses -when a couple is in the flush of love, a lusty new relationship and the comfort of a casual affair when feeling trapped. There are highs and lows with toasts and tears as relationships ignite, falter, crumble and reunite through an emotional rollercoaster of laughter, joy, pain and angst.

'Everything seems pretty planned out.... no more surprises,' Zach Braff's Michael confides to his newly pregnant girlfriend Jenna (Jacinda Barrett), when they arrive home after the family celebrations. The burden of impending fatherhood feels unbearably heavy to Michael, who remarks to Rachel Bilson's pretty young music student Kim (a younger, prettier version of Janna, with none of the baggage a relationship which comes with responsibility) 'You make me feel 10 years younger.' There are crises all around, including the relationship between Jenna's parents Anna (Blythe Danner) and Stephen (Tom Wilkinson), who hides his emotions behind cynicism and humour. 'What would you do if I died?' asks Anna, who is feeling unattractive. 'Iron my dark suit,' replies Stephen.

'It's what you do to the people you say you love that counts,' Stephen wisely counsels Michael, as he struggles to sort out his life and relationship with Jenna. There are winners and losers in the game of love, and hearts pound and flutter either way. Enriched by vulnerable performances from Braff and Barrett, solid direction and a sensitive screenplay by Paul Haggis who has retained the spirit of the original, showing that love is a universal phenomenon.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

LAST KISS, THE (2007) (MA15+)
(US, 2007)

CAST: Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Casey Affleck, Rachel Bilson, Michael Weston, Eric Christian Olsen, Marley Shelton, Lauren Lee Smith, Harold Ramis, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson

PRODUCER: Andre Lamal, Gary Lucchesi, Tom Rosenberg, Marcus Viscidi

DIRECTOR: Tony Goldwyn

SCRIPT: Paul Haggis, (Gabriele Muccino's screenplay L'ultimo bacio)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Tom Stern

EDITOR: Lisa Zeno Churgin

MUSIC: Michael Penn

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Dan Leigh

RUNNING TIME: 104 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: March 15, 2007







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