Saturday, January 6, 2007

Zach Braff, Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson, Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson, Casey Affleck, Michael Weston

"We all make choices. What's yours?"

This crisp well structured film is Hollywood's adaptation of an Italian movie called L'Ultimo Bacio. It deals with a group of friends who are at the crossroads of their lives. You know the point where you reach the 30 threshold and you get saddled with new pressing responsibilities such as parenthood, marriage and commitment issues. The period in your life where you stick to your decisions and pray that you made the right choice because you only get one chance to make everything right. Or live to regret it for the rest of your adult life.

The main thrust of the story focuses on Jenna and Michael. They are an unmarried couple expecting a baby. Michael is confused and feels trapped. It seems like he is on auto pilot mode and his life is already being planned for him. He deals with his 'freaking out mode' by having an indiscretion with a younger girl. This crisis/conflict leads him to examine what he really wants out of life. Meanwhile Jenna has her own issues to confront when her own parents go through a rough spot in their marriage.

The story although interesting enough is also a bit predictable. My main concern is the casting of Zach Braff. The guy seems hell bent on portraying characters who project some loner and dare I say loser vibe. If you watched "Garden State" you will know what I mean. The troubled and depressed type who always has some conflicts raging in his life. It doesn't help that he has a pretty expressionless demeanor. Just one dimensional character without much of a personality. I also didn't sense any chemistry between him and Jacinda Barrett who portrays Jenna. She is sweet and refreshingly radiant as Jenna so I don't grasp what she sees in Michael.
Drawing another parallel with his role in "Garden State", he is lucky he has some (for lack of a better word) 'cool' friends. In the sense that they have more engaging personalities and lead more interesting lives.
Their stories unfolds in little sub plots which add more spice to the otherwise monotonous atmosphere.

I haven't seen the Italian version so I can't say if this American rehash stuck true to the premise. But it is another one of those films with an open ending subject to several interpretations. And boy do I have loads of scenarios in my mind so to what happens when she opens the door to let him back into the house. Because although the main train of thought for the film suggest 'you won't fail if you never give up', I took offense with the way it ended. I am not talking about the abruptness but I mean the implication that everything was going to be alright because Michael stayed out in the rain without any food for a few days. I hope he got really sick and she left him to rot on some hospital bed and moved on with her life without having to see his indifferent face, ever again.
Ok so you catch my drift, excuse me if I got carried away ... I know it is just a movie, after all.

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