Carlo really does love live-in girlfriend Giulia, but when he learns that she’s pregnant, he sees domesticity beckoning like a noose. So he flees Rome and moves to Wisconsin, where he hooks up with—no, wait, that’s not quite right. Carlo was the central character in 2001’s The Last Kiss, written and directed by Gabriele Muccino. This is the American remake, directed by Tony Goldwyn (Someone Like You) and written by Paul Haggis (Crash). For most of their version, these two middling tale-spinners replicate the original virtually scene by scene; the principal difference is that the impossibly beautiful Italian cast has been replaced with a somewhat less attractive American one. That explains how dweeby Zach Braff became Michael, the Carlo character, one of four men facing the shock of turning 30 while suffering romantic turbulence. One can’t get over his ex, another discovers that his anything-goes sex partner is actually looking for a husband, and a third is in a marriage that’s being destroyed by caring for an infant son. The last case is the one that haunts Michael, who fears that his relationship with Jenna (Jacinda Barrett) will collapse once they become parents. So at the marriage of the fifth guy—the one who doesn’t have girl trouble—Michael is all too susceptible to Kim (Rachel Bilson), a flirtatious college student. (That’s one change made to assuage American sensibilities; in the original, the Kim equivalent was in high school.) Later, Michael goes out with Kim, lying to Jenna about his whereabouts. Naturally, he gets caught, a development that corresponds to one involving Jenna’s mother (Blythe Danner): She admits she’s had an affair, although her husband (Tom Wilkinson) is much more willing to forgive her than he is the guy who cheated on his daughter. Danner and Wilkinson don’t get much screen time, but they outshine the under-50 cast members. The Last Kiss’ final act gets less Italian and more Dr. Phil, as Michael is severely punished for his transgression, but overall the remake is quite similar to the original. Which was, come to think of it, rather bland and Hollywoodish to begin with.—Mark Jenkins

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