Excited upon hearing that Paul Haggis, writer/director of one of this critic's all-time favorite films, "CRASH", adapted the script for "THE LAST KISS", it should be noted that he also adapted "MILLION DOLLAR BABY", one of this critic's least favorite films of all time.
Adapted from an Italian film, "Ultimo Bacho, L", "THE LAST KISS" deserves credit for electing to go against the typical Hollywood cliche's. The story revolves around one central relationship, and delves in and out of others. None of them are perfect, and some of them are simply disastrous. But, "THE LAST KISS" treats all of them with empathy and honesty, without ever succumbing to over-sentimentality. Relationships are hard! Temptations are always around. But, "THE LAST KISS" cleverly showcases the different paths available to the central characters and the ramifications in taking them. There are some genuinely great cinematic moments. However, as much as the film works hard to steer from cliche', there are some scenes that just feel too long, and poorly written. An extended sequence in which Braff's character lies and sleeps outside of the house his girlfriend has now locked him out of, is just too much of everything. It really doesn't work and although it's just one sequence, it diminishes other aspects of the film's narrative.
The actors are all quite generally quite good. Jacinda Barret??? Not so much. Rachel Bilson is the film's biggest surprise, showing incredible range and giving the film's finest performance. Her character is the only one that really feels consistently real in scene after scene. It's just a shame that more of the film isn't built around her. Ultimately, "THE LAST KISS" seems to impress the female audience more than men(at least in the theatrical showing attended by this reviewer)
PARAMOUNT has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for this release. It's a sensational transfer. Colors are rich and vibrant. Blacks and grays are deep. The detail is extremely sharp in every scene. There are no artifacts.
While not an aggressive mix, the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix offers a consistently realistic environment. While separation is targeted towards the front soundstage, surrounds and discrete effects are used effectively, providing a 360 degree environment at appropriate moments. Dialogue is always intelligible.
PARAMOUNT has provided loads of extras. There are two audio commentaries, deleted scenes, featurettes and more.