The Last Kiss (15) <!-- none onestar twostar threestar fourstar fivestar -->

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The Independent Culture

On paper it all looks dandy: a screenwriter, Paul Haggis, who's won back-to-back Oscars (Crash, Million Dollar Baby), a director, Tony Goldwyn, who made the delightful nostalgia-com A Walk on The Moon, and a star, Zach Braff, who's won awards for both film (Garden State) and television work (Scrubs). On screen, sadly, it doesn't rise to those expectations.

A comedy drama that pits temptation against responsibility, it begins with nice-guy Michael (Braff) quailing at the prospect of hitting 30 and having a baby with his girlfriend, Jenna (Jacinda Barrett). Dreading that life has no surprises left, he allows himself to be lured into a fling with a student nymphet (Rachel Bilson), and the wheels start falling off. Interwoven with this are several other tales of disaffection, including the marriage of Jenna's parents (Tom Wilkinson and Blythe Danner, both good) and Casey Affleck's alienation from his wife and baby.

Danner aside, Haggis's screenplay is unfavourably tilted against the women, who hit hysterical overreaction 10 seconds after an argument begins - a little light and shade would have been preferable. So too would a few more gags instead of those drippy montages that always seem to be soundtracked by Coldplay.