In a (seemingly) other lifetime, I was married to someone else. Someone not Sean. If that’s strange for you, believe me, it’s way weirder for me! I was in love the way only a 19 year can be. And maybe I still would be had bipolar disorder not reared its ugly head. My background in psychology came back to bite me: my rational brain thought, it’s fine, bipolar can be treated and managed. Don’t panic. I should have listened to the irrational part that said: run! Because while bipolar disorder IS highly manageable, the person has to WANT to manage it. The person has to TRY. The person has to not concoct elaborate lies in order to fool his wife, not buy generic over the counter drugs, file off the stamped logos, and pretend to be taking doctor-prescribed meds. You know, that kind of thing. Anyway, somewhere in the dramatic and volatile end of our marriage, I watched a movie called The Last Kiss. I cried my eyes out until they literally swelled shut. It was an emotional time.
I have never forgotten the emotional trauma of watching this movie, but I recently threw caution and hankies to the wind and gave it a rewatch, and here’s what I found out:
Other than a kick-ass sound track, this movie is a worthless pile of shit. There’s a fair bit of fat shaming nearly right off the top. I was rolling my eyes so hard at the shamelessly cheesy lines that an eyeball almost popped right out of the socket.
The premise: Michael (Zach Braff) is having the slimiest of crises – a quarter-life one. He has everything he wants – a nice home, a good job, a beautiful girlfriend, Jenna, and a baby on the way. So of course his complaint is that life is too perfect and he’s such a basic bitch that he’s worried life holds no more surprises for him. So while celebrating a friend’s wedding, he naturally flirts with another woman – er, girl. The wedding guests are all in pastel but Kim (Rachel Bilson) saunters saucily up to the bar in a flaming red dress. She is leaking manic pixie dream girl out of every pore. No one pretends that she’s a real person, just the embodiment of the very young woman that a man about to start a family really wants to fuck. They go on dates, they kiss. They are rudely interrupted by the inconvenient death of his best friend’s father, which blows his cover story to shreds. His (pregnant) girlfriend throws him out, devastated.
Theirs is not the only relationship in tatters. Michael’s friend Chris (Casey Affleck) is on the verge of a nervous breakdown – since the birth of his son, his wife can’t stop finding fault with him and all they do is fight and try to keep the baby alive. Meanwhile, Jenna’s parents (Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson), o ye of the 30 year marriage, are also on the outs, also due in part to infidelity, but also, it seems, to a lifetime of happiness.
Michael, a dope and a natural born idiot, invokes double jeopardy: since he’s already in the dog house for kissing Ms. Manic Pixie, he figures he may as well fuck her. Because men are scum. But then he’s filled with regret and decides to stage a sit-in, or a vigil for his relationship, and it’s this whole sordid deal.
I must have been really messed up to find anything worthwhile in this mess. My marriage suffered from no mere infidelity – that seems a far smaller betrayal than the ones we suffered at the hands of mental illness. I’m not even sure which parts I related to, and today, all these years later, I want to slap Jenna across the face just to remind her that this sack of shit doesn’t even deserve to sit on her front porch. So yeah, things change. I’ve changed. The world has changed. Zach Braff is still a fuck knuckle.