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.