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THE LAST KISS (L’Ultimo Bacio)

By Merle Bertrand | August 2, 2002

Boy, do Italians yell alot. Viewers who persevere throughout Gabriele Muccino’s boisterous romantic comedy “The Last Kiss” will come away convinced that they’d need an aspirin to survive even the noise at an Italian dominos tournament.
It’s precisely that kind of passion that Carlo fears he’s about to lose. He’s been with his girlfriend Giulia for three years and the couple has just found out she’s going to have a baby. While Giulia quickly becomes obsessed with buying a home and purchasing the perfect stroller, Carlo feels the noose of lifelong committment tightening around his neck. It doesn’t help matters any that his best friend Adrian is splitting up with his girlfriend, thanks in part to his anability to deal with the responsibilities of parenthood, his girlfriend’s post-childbirth altered personality, and its resulting lack of a sex life. Nor does it help noticing that another friend, Marco, sleeps with a different woman every night or watching still another buddy, Pablo, on the verge of being trapped working in his dying father’s boutique.
The final straw, however, comes when Carlo meets and becomes lustfully enchanted by a sexy eighteen-year old blond. Seemingly compelled beyond any ability to resist, Carlo embarks on a dangerously exciting series of liasons with his virginal Italian Beauty; a foolish last grasp at oat sewing that threatens his life with the woman he truly loves.
Sit in the front row if you ever come across “The Last Kiss” in a theater. That’s because the dialogue flows so fast and furiously, a nearly non-stop staccato of loudly passionate exchanges, that unless you’re in the front row, you’ll give yourself whiplash trying to dodge heads while reading the subtitles.
There’s at least one subplot too many here, although the thread chronicling the disintegrating relationship between Giulia’s affection-starved, reluctantly aging mother Anna and her cool and distant husband eventually pays off sweetly.
“The Last Kiss” is very much a Hollywood romantic comedy, only without the American stars and with a lot more temper to it. The film does at least dare to throw a last-second curveball at the end when, like a reluctant boyfriend, it refuses to commit completely to its “happily ever after” ending. While this is sure to tick off the romantics in the crowd, it at least reflects the ongoing struggle and hard work long-term relationships require.
Accessible and dealing with the most familiar of subject matters, “The Last Kiss” makes a good chick flick for guys who want to appear artsy by taking their date to a foreign language film. Just remember: front row…and don’t forget the aspirin.

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