Just caught The Last Kiss in glorious DVD. The Last Kiss is the second act in Zach Braff's "Disillusioned 20-Something Guy" trilogy, which I'd imagine would be completed fairly soon.
I'd heard a lot of negative criticism of the film, saying that the role wasn't much of a stretch for Braff--that the movie--and as an extension, his character--was too similar to the Braff-directed Garden State. It's true that there are some slight similarities in the characters. Michael (Braff's character) is unsure of his place in the world. He is worried about falling into a rut, and he is inspired by the youthful exuberance of a new romance. However, the similarities end there, and The Last Kiss tends to be a far more melancholy film about numerous young couples finding their place in the world. Consider it a The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood for those of us with testicles.
Michael, a commitment-a-phobe, impregnates his girlfriend and becomes worried that his life is over. This leads him to a secret tryst with The O.C.'s Rachel Bilson which could bring about the end of his relationship. Other characters deal with a recent break-up, death in the family, aging, cheating, verbal abuse, and parenthood.
What I like about the film is that it doesn't tie everything up in a nice little bow. Even the endings that seem to result in happiness are tentative, liable to fluctuate back to their original, chaotic states. The performances are all great. Especially surprising (although it shouldn't have been, judging by the caliber of the actors) were the performances of Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson as the parents of Michael's girlfriend. They offer restrained, subtle, nuanced acting (in perhaps the most realistic situation of the film's screenplay) that grounds the rest of the fantastical elements (road trip!, college party!, etc!).
Zach Braff is good in his leading role, but something seems a bit off at times. It seems as if he can't shake his comedic Scrubs Braffiness. However, this is potentially my own baggage. I've watched the television show enough to associate Braff with his character, who seems to get more and more inane as time goes by.
Zach Braff was also utilized as the Soundtrack Editor to the film, probably an effect of his top-selling Garden State mix-tape-cum-soundtrack. The music in The Last Kiss is good, but it suffers from the same plague that afflicted Garden State, the also-Braffian Scrubs, as well as every drama television show to hit the airwaves--the dreaded music montage. I counted no less than three instances of full-songs being used in the film, almost in music video format. The performances in Kiss are competent across the board, so it's a shame to see the soundtrack being used to elicit (solicit?) emotion that could clearly have been provided by the acting.
The movie was okay, but I wouldn't recommend a buy. Rent it if you like Braff or if you're in a somber, relationship-tainted mood. Look elsewhere for a romance (or for a comedy), as both are in short supply here in favor of moping.