About Last Night – Rated R
Director: Steve Pink
About Last Night is the retelling of the 1986 movie of the same title, directed by Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine). The new version stars: Kevin Hart (Bernie Plitko); Michael Ealy (Danny Martin); Regina Hall (Joan Derrickson), and Joy Bryant (Debbie Sullivan). Both movies are adaptations of the 1974 David Mamet play, Sexual Perversity in Chicago. Unlike the first film, this version is set in Los Angeles and features an all black leading cast. I do not remember much of anything about the original. I’m sure Elizabeth Perkins played a shrew, Jim Belushi was obnoxious, and Rob and Demi were adorably forgettable. I had no real expectations for the movie based on the one explicit trailer released on YouTube.
About Last Night follows the basic Rom-Com formula: Boy meets girl, they hook up, and continue hooking up, decide to move in together, one of them isn’t ready for all that entails, they break-up, randomly cross paths in a park, and start all over again. You know what you are getting into when you choose to fork over $10 at your local cineplex. So why should you see About Last Night? It’s actually funny; hilarious, occasional-tears-in-your-eyes funny. It’s the first movie I’ve seen in a theater in years where the entire audience roared with laughter.
Most of the laughs come from Kevin Hart and Regina Hall’s characters; they need to star in more movies together. Regina is so no-holds-barred with her comedic timing; I really enjoyed her on screen. Kevin Hart is Kevin Hart and either you love him or hate him, but his jokes are applicable to the story and not just shoehorned in for the sake of cheap laughs. I’d buy the BluRay just for the outtakes. Joan and Bernie are caricatures of every brash couple you know. You know your loud friends with kinks you don’t want to know about, but they tell you anyway? Well, that is Bernie and Joan. This is also a Rom-Com where the couples have sex, hence the R rating. Lots of sex, hallelujah! People are not holding hands when they first get together; they hump.
Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant. Adorable, yes, occasionally funny. Great as straight men. Chemistry. Most of the time, but they aren’t very interesting. This is the downfall of most romantic comedies, (except for When Harry Met Sally) the leads are rarely as interesting as their friends. Love does not have to be that serious. One of them should have fallen out of bed during sex. They make love, cuddle, and eat Chinese food. One of their honest relationship moments is when they are lamenting about Sundays. We all know about weekend love with your significant other, and Sundays are the worst. Danny asked Debbie what she would usually be doing on a Sunday. Deadpan: Watching House marathons and masturbating. They go right back to being cute.
As a movie that has an all black cast, they did not place them in a world that limits itself to black extras and white villains, thank you, Steve Pink. There is even a wink and a nod to the 1986 movie and the original play. Notable cameos and other supporting cast: Paula Patton, Adam Rodriguez, Joe Lo Truglio, Mehcad Brooks, Terrell Owens, and Christopher McDonald.
On a personal note, About Last Night is another example of how I want to see people who look like me on screen. No knock on Tyler Perry, but his movies and characters generally aren’t my jam. Moreover, I hope it makes buckets of money. Kevin Hart has a broad fan base and is a proven theater draw. The forgettable Ride Along had a reported $25 million budget and has grossed $100 million in less than a month. Maybe Hollywood will take notice, and I won’t have to watch a movie about racial/political injustice in order to see more people of color on screen.
My rating: 4 Shirtless Low-Slung Sweatpants-wearing Michael Ealys out of 5.