Utilizing an intertwined multi-character narrative so laughably contrived it borders on self-parody, The Last Kiss (L’Ultimo Bacio) repackages messy human dilemmas into something neat, tidy and oh-so-manipulatively inspiring. Gabriele Muccino’s knotted tale follows four close friends, their wives/lovers/one-night stands, and one older married couple as they struggle to navigate various romantic predicaments, all of which stem from a fear of monogamous (adult) commitment as stultifying and constricting, and a burning desire for the supposedly happy (youthful) freedom of non-attachment. Predictably, this scenario involves lots of screaming arguments concluded by people storming out of rooms, ill-advised bouts of infidelity, and heart-to-hearts about the nature of romance, passion and love. What’s surprising about Muccino’s turgid melodrama, however, is that it earnestly believes its central lesson – amorous commitment is nice; a solitary life is not – is somehow revelatory. Since every character is really just a one-dimensional device meant to impart some variation on the film’s primary theme, and because it’s clear that Muccino will eventually wrap up his various storylines with a dose of big, joyous uplift, there’s no way to feel emotionally drawn into the characters’ plights – or, in fact, to become overly frustrated with their selfish, narrow-minded, idiotic immaturity. In fact, there’s little reason to even endure The Last Kiss, an exercise in sub-Altman screenwriting gimmickry, self-consciously fanciful widescreen cinematography, and trite moralizing that pushes buttons and pulls heartstrings with all the grace and subtlety of a stampeding elephant.