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PARAMOUNT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Tony Goldwyn
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
Writing Credits:
Paul Haggis, Gabriele Muccino (motion picture, L'ultimo bacio)

Tagline:
We all make choices. What's yours?

Synopsis:
A whiny, self-obsessed, about-to-turn-30 guy (Zach Braff) freaks out when his totally hot girlfriend (Jacinda Barrett) decides they should buy a house. So of course he decides to sabotage his relationship by flirting with a slightly younger but no less hot girl (Rachel Bilson). His idiocy results in possibly losing both women.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$4.627 million on 1357 screens.
Domestic Gross
$11.596 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned

Runtime: 103 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 12/26/2006

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Tony Goldwyn and Actor Zach Braff
• Audio Commentary with Director Tony Goldwyn and Actors Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson, Michael Weston and Eric Christian Olsen
• “Filmmaker’s Perspective” Featurette
• “Getting Together” Featurette
• “Behind Our Favorite Scenes” Featurette
• “Last Thoughts” Featurette
• Music Video
• Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Trailer
• Previews


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EQUIPMENT
Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Last Kiss (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 22, 2006)

For a look inside the lives and relationships of a bunch of nearly-30-year-olds, we head to 2006’s The Last Kiss. Michael (Zach Braff) reflects on his life as he nears his 30th birthday. On the surface, he seems perfectly happy. He dates – and accidentally impregnates – gorgeous, smart Jenna (Jacinda Barrett), he has a good job, and he still hangs out with his long-time buddies.

Alas, he doesn’t appear to feel so sure about his future. Michael sees the problems his friends experience with women, and then he meets Kim (Rachel Bilson) at a pal’s wedding. She hits on him and though he doesn’t actively receive her charms, he doesn’t really shy away from her either. Michael’s already-existing feelings of anxiety combine with all the misery he sees in his friends’ relationships to send him toward Kim. The movie follows the complicated love triangle as well as some aspects of the others’ lives.

On the surface, Kiss looked to present your basic romantic comedy. However, that’s not the case. If you want to find romance and/or comedy from Kiss, you’ll leave unsatisfied – and possibly suicidal, as the film provides a relentlessly unpleasant view of humanity.

That starts with out lead character. Perhaps I couldn’t understand why two amazingly gorgeous women feel so passionately toward an unlikable and unsympathetic person such as Michael. At no point does the film make us feel any fondness toward him. It tries pretty hard to pull those heartstrings at the end when he produces the Big Romantic Gesture, but it’s too little and too late.

The film wants us to see Michael as desirable but never produces any evidence that he deserves our affection. At least with Jenna we can assume that he endeared himself to her based on actions over the prior three years. We get no logical reason to understand why Kim falls for him. Clearly her initial attraction comes from his physical appearance, and that makes no sense. No, Braff isn’t an ugly man, but he looks a lot like a young Garry Shandling, and I can’t see why a young hottie like Kim would become so irrationally smitten with a guy who sports average looks at best.

Actually, the whole plot backfires as it evolves. We don’t just feel a lack of sympathy for Michael – we start to hate the guy. Most movies would take a jerk who cheats on his pregnant live-in girlfriend as the villain. He lies to Jenna and his friends, he uses Kim, and he shows little responsibility for his actions. It’s a serious stretch – and an unpalatable one, in this case – to make such a person our protagonist.

Perhaps director Tony Goldwyn sensed that too much time with Michael would be a bad thing so he stretches the story across many other characters as well. This is a mistake since it can't devote enough time to them. We get sketches of their misery that just compound the agony of watching this flick. With so little time to spend on each couple, we simply see their greatest hits; only the most painful moments of the various relationships emerge. These make the flick a constant exercise in emotional pain with no payoff.

It doesn’t help that most of the other characters aren’t much more sympathetic than Michael. Either they’re mentally unbalanced, unwilling to accept responsibility, or simply selfish. Where’d they round up such a roster of unlikable personalities?

What a miserable way to spend 100 minutes! Packed with melodrama, The Last Kiss never becomes anything more than an unpleasant story full of unpalatable characters. This is a cinematic car wreck with little to make it watchable.


The DVD Grades: Picture C+/ Audio C+/ Bonus B-

The Last Kiss appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though not grossly problematic, the transfer seemed lackluster for a brand-new movie.

Some of the problems related to sharpness. Moderate edge enhancement appeared, and that could leave the image without great definition. Much of the movie was fine, but I thought it sometimes looked too mushy. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and print flaws seemed absent.

Colors remained subdued. The movie went with an earthy tone that favored greens and browns, all of which looked acceptable. Brighter hues came across fine on the occasions they appeared, at least. Blacks tended to be a little murky, while low-light shots seemed bland. Interiors came across as particularly lifeless. Shadows tended to be a bit flat. Overall, this transfer remained watchable but no better.

Given the character-based roots of The Last Kiss, I expected little from its soundfield. Indeed, this was a fairly restricted soundfield that fell in line with films of this genre. The audio stayed largely focused on the front channels. A few elements like bars and parties opened up the surrounds a bit, but there wasn’t a lot of information on display. Music showed good stereo imaging, at least, and the general ambience was fine.

Audio quality was acceptable if less than impressive. Music showed lackluster bass response and could have offered more satisfying depth. Nonetheless, the track was usually reasonably solid. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and effects were clean and clear. This was an unexceptional mix that earned a “C+“.

The DVD comes with a surprisingly broad roster of extras. We find two separate audio commentaries. The first presents director Tony Goldwyn and actor Zach Braff for a running, screen-specific piece. They go over cast, characters and performances, locations and sets, music choices, cut sequences, and general technical notes.

Goldwyn and Braff offer a pretty spotty commentary. They joke around a lot and throw out quite a bit of general praise for all involved. There’s also more than a few spots of dead air. A moderate amount of decent information emerges, but not enough to make this a memorable discussion.

For the second track, we hear from Goldwyn, Braff, and actors Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson, Michael Weston and Eric Christian Olsen. All of them sit together for their running, screen-specific discussion. The chat usually stays in the realm of anecdotal material. They discuss their experiences with each other and during the shoot. They also joke around a lot.

Bizarrely, this commentary varies between too little talking and too much. When the participants speak, it often feels like we get three different conversations all at the same time. The program can become chaotic as the various participants yak over top of each other. On the other hand, the piece presents quite a few examples of dead air. There’s a surprising amount of silence given the number of speakers and their general chattiness. These two trends and a lack of much substance make this a tough track to take.

After this we find a series of four featurettes. Filmmaker’s Perspective goes for a mere two minutes, 33 seconds. It provides movie clips, behind the scenes elements, and comments. We hear from Goldwyn and producer Gary Lucchesi. They throw out some basic notes about the Italian flick that inspired Kiss and a few other issues. The info’s decent but the shortness of the piece makes it less than involving.

Something more substantial comes via the 26-minute and 43-second Getting Together. It presents remarks from Goldwyn, Lucchesi, Braff, Barrett, Bilson, Weston, Olsen, screenwriter Paul Haggis, and actors Casey Affleck, Lauren Lee Smith, Marley Shelton, Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson. “Together” looks at Haggis’s adaptation of the Italian original, casting, characters and performances.

“Together” mixes insight and blather. On the negative side, we get much praise for all involved. However, the show balances this with some good reflections on why the actors got their parts and how they took on their roles. It winds up as a decent program.

Next we get Behind Our Favorite Scenes. This eight-minute and 26-second featurette includes Braff, Bilson, Barrett, Danner, Wilkinson, Lucchesi and Goldwyn. It examines particulars of four different segments. Most of the remarks remain in the domain of praise and puffery, though Goldwyn offers insights into how they altered the scripted version of one scene. Some good footage from the set makes this one more palatable.

Finally, Last Thoughts runs three minutes, 29 seconds with Lucchesi, Barrett, Affleck, Shelton, Olsen, Danner, and Goldwyn. This piece acts as a valedictory note in which the participants discuss how deep and rich the film is. It offers little of interest.

A Music Video for “Ride” by Cary Brothers lasts three minutes, 25 seconds Braff directed the video and quickly introduces it. A simple piece, the clip mostly shows Brothers as he lip-synchs in a desolate trailer park. It’s not a great video, but at least it lacks the usual roster of movie snippets!

Seven Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 14 minutes and six seconds. We discover “Bachelor Party Extended” (2:52), “Treehouse Scene Extended” (3:48), “Izzy and Arianna On the Phone” (0:36), “Chris and Lisa Fight in the Kitchen” (1:26), “Kim Chases Michael” (0:40), “Alternate Ending 1” (2:43) and “Alternate Ending 2” (2:03). “Party” offers more nudity from the strippers, so that’s a good thing. The two endings more explicitly show what happens to Michael and Jenna as well as the others. Most of the others just make the characters look even more messed up and needier.

In addition to the film’s trailer, the DVD includes a Gag Reel. This two-minute and 44-second clip features the usual errors and wackiness. None of it entertains.

The DVD opens with a few ads. We get promos for Dreamgirls, Babel, Jackass Number 2, An Inconvenient Truth and World Trade Center. These also appear in the DVD’s Previews area.

In some movies, you’re supposed to hate the main character, but since The Last Kiss isn’t one of those flicks, the negativity it generates causes harm. Chock full of unlikable personalities and constant misery, the film falters. The DVD presents fairly average picture and audio along with a mix of decent extras. This is an unexceptional release for an atrocious movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6 Stars Number of Votes: 10
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12:
51:
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main