A must to avoid.

So, apres-memo, here’s the plot of “The Last Kiss,” starring Zach Braff, whom someone who died made Voice of Generation Y:

Zach is a Prius-driving architect in Washington D.C., about to turn 30, with a girlfriend of long standing. She’s beautiful, smart, a PhD candidate, and pregnant. The movie opens with dinner at her parents’, played by Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson, who appears to be in pain. He’s in pain (the movie tells us) because his marriage is lousy, but we know (because we’re smarter than Paul Haggis, the screenwriter), that he’s in pain because he made a bad career choice when he signed the contract to be in this stinker.

So everyone’s at dinner, and Jenna, the beautiful doctoral candidate, makes her big I’m-pregnant announcement. Everyone is thrilled. No one asks about when they’re getting married, although Jenna brings it up, and says they’ve just been so busy, they haven’t been able to fit a wedding into their plans. But that’s OK, because they’re committed to one another, and parents in movies like this never ask such rude questions. Blythe Danner calls for a toast, and runs off to find a bottle of Mumm’s Cordon Rouge she just happens to have in the fridge.

Who are these mutants? Already I hate their guts.

Then we have a few short scenes where Jenna gazes into Zach’s eyes and asks him if he’s happy, and he assures her he’s deliriously happy and loves her to death, his mouth forming the words, his eyes darting toward the nearest exit. I wonder what Jenna is getting her doctorate in? Probably math, because she appears to have been studying trigonometry when the rest of us girls were learning to spot a liar.

The next big scene is at a wedding, where we’re introduced to the rest of Zach’s posse — the sex maniac, the perpetual middle-schooler and the guy who married a bitch. She’s a bitch because when she sees her husband holding their crying baby, she immediately yells at him for not calming the child down, and because his diaper is dirty. And then she appears — the other woman. She’s still in college, and she’s beautiful, and she was on “The O.C.,” so of course I don’t know her name. (Googling … Rachel Bilson.) Because she’s 20 and beautiful, and Jenna is 30 and beautiful, Jenna immediately looks like an old hag to Zach. It would be one thing if Rachel had anything to offer other than her adoring puppy-dog eyes, but she doesn’t. She makes stupid statements that sound profound to a 20-year-old, and, worse, does stupid things, like call her friends at the same wedding on their cell phones, plotting when they can blow this boring scene with the free food and booze and go have some real fun. Zach is smitten.

Again: Who ARE these mutants? Thirty is, perhaps, the time when men and women are closest to one another in their sex drives, at the peak of their physical attractiveness, are starting to gain some sophistication in their worldview and opinions; there is no reason in the world for a 30-year-old man with half a brain and a beautiful girlfriend his own age to go running after a 20-year-old dim bulb. Plus, the girlfriend is pregnant! He’s about to learn the dirty secret of pregnancy, i.e., there is nothing in the world hornier than a pregnant woman, and she’s going to be growing out of her B-cup bras. She is about to wear him down to a stub if he gives her half a chance. But he won’t, because immediately he starts chasing after Rachel Bilson.

To be sure, it isn’t just a physical thing for Zach. See, he’s afraid. Not of the impending birth of his child, which would make sense; he’s afraid that “nothing is going to happen” to him for the rest of his life, that he “knows how it will turn out.” And reader, I swear, no one smacks his ignorant face for saying this bullshit out loud. How did he get through grad school?

Well, you know how the rest of this goes. There are some subplots too boring to recap, all of which boil down to this elusive life lesson: Relationships are hard. Duh. The mid-movie setback comes when Zach goes out with Rachel, kisses her passionately but doesn’t take her to bed, and goes home to Jenna, who has figured out where he’s been. She throws him out of the house. Guess what he does? Yes, goes back to Rachel and fucks her. I’m thinking, “Jenna, run. Run run run run run. Take your doctorate to some normal city like Detroit, find a normal guy and get him to adopt your baby.” Does she listen? Noooo.

So, drama drama drama, Zach swears it will never, ever happen again, and the movie ends with — oh, sorry, this is a spoiler — Jenna letting him back in the house. No obviously happy ending, but a strong implication that they will soldier on, sadder but wiser.

If I were writing the sequel — “The Last Kiss, Really” — they’ll both be killed in a car crash on the way home from the hospital. The carseat will protect the baby, who can find a nice normal adoptive family and have a chance for happiness. Although, overloaded with two preceding generations of stupid genes, the deck is certainly stacked against it.

Posted at 11:13 am in Movies |

43 responses to “A must to avoid.”

  1. brian stouder said on August 23, 2007 at 11:23 am

    See, I agree with every word of that review – in fact it was funny! And that’s the real point – this movie is so bad Pam and I were laughing out loud at the (totally unsurprising) twists and turns, saying “don’t do it! don’t DO IT! OHHHHHH!!! shouldn’t ‘a done it!”

    Almost like watching Dumb and Dumber

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  2. Mindy said on August 23, 2007 at 11:45 am

    Love that review! Please watch a dreadful movie on occasion just so you can tell us about it. I remember the review for Titanic that appeared in Telling Tales. I clipped it and sent it to my pen pal. Had to be a diluted version of the real opinion in order to be published in a family newspaper, I’m sure.

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  3. LA mary said on August 23, 2007 at 12:43 pm

    You hated Titanic? Yaaaay. Me too and I took so much shit about it.

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  4. LA mary said on August 23, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    Guess what I get to do today. FIRE A NUN. She lied on her resume about a degree she doesn’t actually have.

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  5. Danny said on August 23, 2007 at 1:13 pm

    Awww. Someone’s goin’ to H-E- Double-Hockey-Sticks.

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  6. blue girl said on August 23, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    You’re right. This movie was so bad. But, the worst part for me? Watching Zach Braff kiss someone or be romantic in any way. He’s too much like a cartoon character to me to be a romantic lead. I just couldn’t take it.

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  7. nancy said on August 23, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    I was half enjoying “Titanic” in a so-bad-it’s-good sort of way, until Cameron did the stars-outrun-the-fireball shot featuring a WALL OF WATER. That just pissed me off.

    One good thing about it: I saw it with an audience that was, I’d estimate, more than half black, and after the iceberg was struck, they started doing the talk-back-to-the-screen thing. After Kate Winslet turned down the third lifeboat, a woman behind me yelled, “Girl, would you get INTO the damn BOAT?!” Everybody laughed. It made the last 90 minutes more bearable.

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  8. Jolene said on August 23, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    While channel-flipping, I once caught a few minutes of “Titanic”, so I can’t comment on the movie itself.

    I can, though, report a good line from my brother. Upon reporting his wife had gone to the movie w/o him, he said, “What’s the big deal? Ship hits iceberg. Ship sinks. End of story”

    Clearly, not a romantic. No wonder his wife went w/o him.

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  9. MichaelG said on August 23, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    OOOO! I always wanted to fire a nun. Especially in seventh grade. Also: I never thought of nuns as having resumes. I mean, it just never occured to me. Nuns are . . . nuns. What’s to put on a resume? But I guess now that they’re roaming the streets freely they need resumes just like the rest of us.

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  10. nancy said on August 23, 2007 at 2:25 pm

    LA Mary, I’m going to have to consult with the Bishop before I find out, precisely, what level of hell you’re headed for. Better light some candles….

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  11. LA mary said on August 23, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    It’s not even my nun. She was hired by the other recruiter, who found the discrepancy, then left on vacation. Our head nun sent the word down to me that this one has to go.

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  12. brian stouder said on August 23, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    I’d say that the souls who fired nuns in this world, will decend lower than Leona Helmsley (for example) – who no doubt will cackle when she sees her damned jelly vendor go past!

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  13. Jolene said on August 23, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    But what happens to nuns who lie on their resumes? That can’t be good either.

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  14. Kirk said on August 23, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    The eternal habit of flames.

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  15. LA mary said on August 23, 2007 at 2:49 pm

    That’s my thinking, Jolene. Sheesh.

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  16. Dorothy said on August 23, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    She’s probably going to be astonished that you guys checked on the authenticity of her credentials, Mary. Mind if I ask how old she is?

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  17. LA mary said on August 23, 2007 at 3:28 pm

    I don’t know for sure, but I’d guess she’s in her late forties.

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  18. colleen said on August 23, 2007 at 3:56 pm

    No, no, no Kirk. A hair habit. As opposed to hair shirt.

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  19. MichaelG said on August 23, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    Wait a minute. The head nun sent word down to you to fire her? What does one do with a fired nun? Does she get kicked out of the convent? Is everything OK if she goes to confession? Is she publically defrocked or at least dewimpled? Can they option her to some other order? This is all new territory to me.

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  20. Kirk said on August 23, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    Of course, Colleen. Obviously, I’m not a Catholic.

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  21. joodyb said on August 23, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    HOW does Blythe Danner always get those roles – the too lovely matron (‘you’re her mother? i thought you were sisters!’) who has the everpresent bottle of champagne chilling?
    proud to say i’ve never seen Titanic.
    LA Mary, better to be you than the one who hired her. it is nearly the perfect crime, though. or it used to be. now it is an epidemic. what is that theory about stupidity and the criminal mind? maybe it’s not stupidity.

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  22. LA mary said on August 23, 2007 at 4:51 pm

    She still gets to be a nun, just not an assistant chaplain here. It requires a minimum of a bachelors degree, preferably a masters. She claimed to be working on a masters, but we couldn’t find any bachelors degree. We check all degrees and licenses here, and we run background checks on every hire. We drug test and TB test. That’s pretty much standard for all hospitals.

    The head nun did send down word to lose her, and our head nun is a serious person.

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  23. nancy said on August 23, 2007 at 4:54 pm

    Her bachelor’s degree was from GOD. You got a problem with that, Miss Picky Pants?

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  24. Danny said on August 23, 2007 at 5:16 pm


    Hey, I’m working on multiple PhD’s but they’ve been interrupted by an extended “sabbatical” that pays the bills.

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  25. Dorothy said on August 23, 2007 at 5:36 pm

    I was astonished to find out that Kenyon doesn’t do drug tests for new hires. I asked the other day why no one had mentioned I needed to have one, and that’s how I found out. They must be the last institution in America not to do drug tests.

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  26. LA mary said on August 23, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    We have JCAHO to deal with (I might be getting that acronym wrong but you can’t spell check acronyms). To keep that accreditation, we have to do drug tests, license and certification checks, etc.

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  27. Kirk said on August 23, 2007 at 6:18 pm

    And only now do I make the connection and remember that “A Must to Avoid” was a Herman’s Hermits song.

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  28. alex said on August 23, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    Yours is the second-to-last place, Dorothy.

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  29. Jolene said on August 23, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    They must me the last institution in America not to do drug tests..

    Nah. I’ve worked at several universities, and I’ve never heard of one that routinely requires drug tests. It may be that there are parts of universities that require tests–perhaps in med schools and teaching hospitals–but I’d be surprised to hear of drug testing elsewhere in academia.

    Also recently worked at a public policy think tank, and there were no required drug tests. As I said yesterday, I’m in the land of federal government employees, and I’ve never heard any of my friends mention that they had to have drug tests. It’s possible, but I’d be surprised. Anyone know otherwise?

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  30. Kim said on August 23, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Hey, LA Mary — are you sure she’s a nun, really truly Roman Catholic and not of a mail-order order? Not to defend a liar, but if she really is a nun and lied about a degree it’s ironic that she’s facing consequences while the priest who lies about where he hides the little man just … skates. Help me overcome cynicism!

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  31. MichaelG said on August 23, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    A mail order nun. Lord, save me. Like that guy in Fresno who made everybody ministers? Is he still in business?

    I work for the State of California and I don’t know of anybody being tested for drugs. Sure, cops and COs and fire people but not non-sworn folks.

    I don’t know what JCAHO means, Mary, but I would guess it includes Catholic Health Orgs. We have Mercy Hosp up the street and they’re a pretty major player in the health biz around here.

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  32. brian stouder said on August 23, 2007 at 9:42 pm

    Well, I have a bookmark that comes in handy quite often, for questions like this –


    and if you type in JCAHO, you get


    Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations

    So that’s the horse I’m bettin’ on!

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  33. joodyb said on August 23, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    thanks, brian. i forgot about that link.
    i forgot to ask this before: why is it called “the Last Kiss”?

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  34. Joe Kobiela said on August 23, 2007 at 11:36 pm

    If Kate Winslet would have got in a damn life boat, then Leonardo De Crappyo, could have floated on the piece of driftwood and they both would have survived. I told my kids that, and all I got was a big your not romantic. I also guessed, goose was going to get killed in top gun as soon as the wife and kids ran out on the tarmac. If they would have put in all the flying they took out and took out all the love crap, it would have been a good movie.
    Yea nancy I was flying in that stuff up in Detroit tonight, helps to have radar though.

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  35. brian stouder said on August 24, 2007 at 6:45 am

    why is it called “the Last Kiss”?

    Who knows? At the movie’s end, who could be sure that any of the people who shared kisses, had indeed shared a “last” kiss? Maybe it was like “Last one into the pool is a rotten egg” sort of a “last kiss”?

    Anyway, I was mildly disappointed that the movie didn’t use Pearl Jam’s cover of the old “Last Kiss” ballad…but I suppose if they did that, then the Prius would have had to get smashed…as in Nancy’s sequel!

    (PS – I seriously think that Zach guy was wearing lipstick – and not just a little!)

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  36. LA mary said on August 24, 2007 at 9:31 am

    It’s the Joint Commission indeed. Their standards are higher than the state or federal standards.

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  37. Marie said on August 24, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Fantastic review. Now I know I really don’t want to see that movie! 😉

    As a member of Generation Y, let me just apologize for Zach Braff right now. And Britney, and Paris, and Nicole, and Lindsay… et al.

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  38. brian stouder said on August 24, 2007 at 10:40 am

    So here’s a news story in Fort Wayne today:

    Sister M. Elise Kriss, president of the university, introduced Mark Pope as the new director of athletics on Thursday in a press conference at Bishop D’Arcy Stadium. Kriss announced that Pope will take over for interim director Mitch Ellison, beginning his supervision of the Cougars’ 15 men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports programs Monday.

    So imagine this, Mary – if it comes out that Pope lied on his resume’, the poor mid-level manager at St Francis university tasked with firing him would probably leap at the chance to trade with you, and fire a nun instead of a Pope!

    (it will be too good if Pope hires a person named Cardinal to coach the St Francis football team)

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  39. LA mary said on August 24, 2007 at 10:55 am

    I’m getting pats on the back for tactfully canning her. She wasn’t a little old nun type. More like the Catholic School PE teacher type. She’ll be fine.

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  40. Danny said on August 24, 2007 at 11:44 am

    As a member of Generation Y, let me just apologize for Zach Braff right now. And Britney, and Paris, and Nicole, and Lindsay… et al.

    Hilarious! Apology accepted. I sometimes jokingly ask younger folks at work with their earbuds if they are listening to Britney or Christina. Of course, I have given a few of them some really good Zeppelin, Sabbath, and Floyd bootlegs to rock their world.

    Hey, speaking of a movie to keep away from: Message in a Bottle. The ending just sucks and makes one sorry to have invested that much time into it. We wanted to throw something at the TV screen.

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  41. Danny said on August 24, 2007 at 11:46 am

    Hats off, Mary. That was a difficult situation to handle tactfully.

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  42. LA mary said on August 24, 2007 at 12:39 pm

    She was expecting it, Danny, so it was not as bad as it could have been.

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  43. Tyro said on August 28, 2007 at 7:47 am

    As a member of Generation Y, let me just apologize for Zach Braff right now. And Britney, and Paris, and Nicole, and Lindsay… et al.

    Zach Braff may be the voice of Generation Y, but, having been born in 1975, he’s a member of Generation X. And for that I apologize. Britney’s the fault of you Generation Y’ers, though. Damn kids.

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