Sending Paul Haggis in to write a romantic comedy is like sending a grizzly bear in to maul a kitten. It’s overkill right? Wait, do you even know who Paul Haggis is? No? Let me learn you a little bit; this is the guy who wrote the screenplays for Million Dollar Baby and Crash. Furthermore he’s the first writer in the history of The Oscars to win back to back awards for screenplay. That’s saying something; clearly this guy has talent to burn. Guess what his next movie coming out is? Oscar contender Flags of our Fathers.
Now right into the middle of these impressive efforts saunters The Last Kiss. It’s the story of Zach Braff caught in a midlife crisis because his girlfriend is pregnant. It’s also the story of his three guy buddies and how each of them deal with love and relationships. It’s a romantic comedy, a love triangle, a dirty and sexual film… honestly it’s got so much depth it’s crazy. The level of complexity in this romantic comedy elevates it past just being a funny movie (which it is) and instead lifts into the rarified air of being a good movie overall, no matter what genre you compare it to.
The Last Kiss drills into all of our relationships, the ones we have with friends, the ones we have with the people we date and marry, the ones we have with our parents. Nothing comes easy here, you won’t be given the simple set-up of a guy loving a girl but not being able to get his act together. You will be surprised by the direction the movie goes and you’ll sure as hell wonder how they are going to wrap it all up. Braff comes off great as a normal and conflicted guy. I think we have Haggis to thank for creating a refreshing character amidst the sea of romantic comedies that offer lead actors straight off the assembly line.
The only reason this is getting an A and not the vaunted A+ is because it uses rain for melodramatic purposes in two scenes. That’s a small error sure, but you’ve got to be perfect to get the perfect grade. The rest is all good. Bilson in particular does really well in a challenging role, plus you get to see much more of her. More Bilson for your buck, I’ll leave it at that. On that note, this is an R movie for sure. I think it has more nudity and sexual situations than The Wedding Crashers, so don’t head out to see this with your mom. Jacinda Barrett is also very strong as a half psychotic and half empathetic girlfriend to Braff.
You should see this one. Today if possible. As I said before it goes after the big issues and makes you laugh, heck it might even make you get a little misty. Is any couple really happy? Is marriage a realistic institution? Is everyone susceptible to the “grass being greener” syndrome? For tackling concepts like these in 100 minutes you have to salute Haggis. He knocked this one out of the park, and though it will never be as appreciated as his other big “important” films I think I enjoyed it more. Evidently sending a bear in after a kitten isn’t such a bad idea after all.