A remake of the the 1986 film of the same name, adapted from the 1974 play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, About Last Night updates this convoluted love story in a version starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, and Joy Bryant.
As two pairs of friends, Bernie (Hart) and Danny (Ealy), and Joan (Hall) and Debbie (Bryant) recount their exploits from the night before, we meet the two pairs just shortly they meet each other. Bernie is the crazy one, Danny the straight man. Joan and Debbie are likewise paired. Meeting at a bar with their respective wingmen, Bernie and Joan proceed to get drunk, reliving their mutual exploits of the night before, leaving their friend to awkwardly observe. It doesn’t take a genius to see where this is headed.
The film follows the unconventional relationship of Bernie and Joan, parallel to the apparently more stable Danny and Debbie. Cutting back and forth between the two and jumping wildly from one season and stage of life to the next, it feels like there is a lot to keep track of and no real reason to do so.
The second film of this Valentine’s season to do so, About Last Night tries to appeal to men as well as women, though it targets a slightly older demographic than That Awkward Moment. Sure it’s a romantic movie, but it inserts a copious amount of comic relief – mostly of the R-rated variety and mostly courtesy of Bernie and Joan. Kevin Hart is currently one of the fastest rising comedic talents, and he has a knack for bringing the laughs while not forgetting about the heart (no pun intended).
There are plenty of decent laughs to be found here, as well more than a touch of sentimentality, but the humor and romance are entangled in a story that is both utterly predictable and full of tonal issues. It’s never sure if it wants to be a raucous comedy or something with more to say. Its narrative jumps back and forth between the two couples, sometimes inconsistently, making it a bit difficult to really become invested in what’s going on. It leaves an inconsistent taste, and never really satisfies, despite the payoffs coming together in a pretty typical manner.
To the film’s credit, at least, despite having an African American primary cast, it doesn’t feel like one of those movies that takes an existing property or concept and throws black actors into the roles in blatant attempt attracting a certain audience *coughpeeplescough*. It doesn’t even feel like a “black” romantic comedy. It’s just a romantic comedy with talented black actors in the lead, which gets a tip of my hat. I’m still not a fan of the finished product, but I suspect that I wouldn’t enjoy the original or the play that much either.
Kevin Hart fans are in for a treat though as the price of admission is worth it just to see him at the top of his game. Taken as individual bits and pieces, one act at a time, the film has plenty of endearing and entertaining pieces but they never mesh well into a finished product.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“It was actually pretty funny. Guys will actually like it.”
My Rating: Two out of five hats
About Last Night sleeps with 2,253 theaters, February 14