- Jun 13, 2002
The Last Kiss
Studio: Dreamworks (distributed by Paramount Home Video)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 enhanced for 16x9 displays
Audio: English DD 5.1, English DD 2.0, French DD 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Time: 103 minutes
Disc Format: 1 DVD-9
Case Style: Keep case
Theatrical Release Date: 2006
DVD Release Date: December 26, 2006
Michael (Zach Braff) is skipping the silliness of marriage and going straight into parenthood with his girlfriend, Jenna (Jacinda Barrett). But this is not without hesitation and unease as he fears the impending finality that a child brings to ones life: Michael believes his life will be left with no more surprises. When a hot, young co-ed, Kim (Rachel Bilson) begins courting Michael, he sees Jenna at a younger age, and thus, sees himself before responsibility took hold. He, of course, pursues the flirtation and winds up partying with Kim, then making out with her afterwards. When Kim tries to entice Michael back to her room, he refuses.
During this time, Michael’s friend Izzy’s (Michael Weston) father dies, so Jenna and the rest of his friends are trying to get a hold of him. Michael has his cell phone off while he party’s, and Michael’s friend Chris (Casey Affleck), originally solicited by Michael to be his cover story, spills the beans. Jenna becomes suitably enraged, and once Michael comes home, she confronts him. They argue and he tells her the truth, that he was out with another girl, but nothing happened except a kiss. She dumps him, throws him out, and he makes more choices that only seek to complicate and potentially ruin the rest of his life.
The Last Kiss hinges on this primary aspect of the story and supplements it with various supporting characters and stories that only seek to reinforce Michael’s turmoil, but in different stages and iterations. Chris has his child, and his wife is a complaining shrew; Izzy is dealing with a busted relationship he refuses to let go of; Kenny (Eric Christian Olsen) lives the life by bartending and sleeping around. Jenna’s parents, Anna and Stephen (Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson) are also dealing with the demons of 30 years of marriage that only seeks to confuse Michael. The stories come together to provide an interesting portrait of early thirtysomethings in the new millennium. This untapped demographic, still caught up in the slacker mentality of Gen-X or Gen-Y or what have you, is now making choices they may not necessarily be ready for.
Director Tony Goldwyn and his fine cast infuse the picture with a lot of honesty and brutality, just the way relationships are (or should be) as well as our reactions to them. Michael tells Stephen that Kim represents the last kiss, and questions whether Stephen has had his. Wilkinson, in amazing dramatic fashion, straightens up and gives Michael a look that conveys everything he needs to know. Weston plays Izzy with that manic edginess that made him such a fright on Six Feet Under a couple years ago. Danner plays the trapped and rebellious Anna with simmering anger and intensity, while Bilson shows her character’s naiveté with playfulness and emotional inexperience.
I really did not have a lot to criticize about the picture outside of the fact, based on the ages and talents of the actors, it can’t seem to make up its mind how serious it wants to be. It avoids relationship and male bonding clichés, but it doesn’t deliver the kick to the gut that it potentially could have. Tom Wilkinson’s presence reminded me a lot of him in In the Bedroom, but this certainly doesn’t hit the emotional lows that picture did.
The picture is in its correct aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and it is an anamorphic transfer. Black levels are good and show a fair amount of detail. Overall detail fluctuates from scene to scene, sometimes it is quite good, but then it degrades into haziness and mild smearing. The picture exhibits some edge enhancement. Colors are accurate and natural but the do not really stand out.
I watched the feature with the Dolby Digital 5.1 track engaged. Most of the action is in the fronts since the scenes are dialogue driven. When the surrounds are utilized, primarily for atmospheric effects, they provide a fair surround stage. LFE’s are barely used and I had to verify my subs were on; the bass track only comes up a couple times and I almost wonder if there was an authoring error. Dreamworks added on several trailers on the front of the disc, and they are very aggressive and loud compared to the feature, so the lack of bass really stood out as the picture began. Voices are clear and natural, as is the rest of the soundtrack.
Two feature length commentaries, one with Tony Goldwyn and Zach Braff, another with Goldwyn, Braff and other cast members: The cast commentary goes into more of the bonding aspects of the actors and degrades into laughter and nonsense pretty quick. There are approximately six people involved in the commentary, but there are still long pauses as they get engrossed in the film. Goldwyn and Braff’s commentary suffers from the same pauses, but they do get more relevant commentary out about the themes of the story and other such relevant topics.
The Last Kiss: Filmmaker’ Perspective (2:30), Getting Together (26:41), Behind Our Favorite Scenes (8:22), Last Thoughts (3:26): this four part feature includes a pretty good behind the scenes look at the making of the picture and the story with the producer, director and entire cast contributing stories and viewpoints on the story and characters.
Music Video – Cary Brothers Ride performance version with Zach Braff intro (3:25): Braff also directed the video, and that’s all his intro is. Boring song, nice video. I would have much rather preferred a video of the Imogen Heap song.
Deleted Scenes (13:30): seven deleted scenes, which include some extended scenes and two alternate endings, neither of which is the original Italian ending. Nothing too spectacular here.
Gag Reel (2:41)
While it doesn’t quite have the emotional gravitas that could make it a great film, The Last Kiss gives us enough to think about in our own lives and provides us with a couple laughs to make it through. The DVD itself is an adequate presentation with a very good set of extras.