About Last Night (2014)

about last night

It’s Valentine’s Day week and the week of remakes, evidently. One has been awful, one has been pretty decent, and then there was one that I wasn’t too sure about. Adapted from playwright David Mamet‘s play, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, the first adaptation of About Last Night came in the 80’s and it didn’t do much. The source material is excellently truthful and vulgar, but the film failed to make waves. So, as Hollywood must these days, a remake of the film/play was ordered and this is the result!

Bernie and Joan are laughing their heads off at dinner,
Bernie and Joan are laughing their heads off at dinner,

Bernie (Kevin Hart) is the opposite of a gentleman. He’s foul-mouthed, dirty, a total freak, yet he has a way with seducing ladies. His best friend, Danny (Michael Ealy), is a gentleman who’s along for the ride. Danny is the guy that Bernie goes to when he’s got a new lady story and now, Bernie has one about last night. He hooked-up with Joan (Regina Hall), a freak in, and out of the sheets. When they go on their next date, Bernie brings Danny along and Joan brings her roommate Debbie (Joy Bryant) and the two instantly hit it off. After they have what seems like a one night stand, they start seeing each other off-and-on and things start heating up in Los Angeles.

Throughout the year, Bernie and Joan have their struggles and Danny and Debbie only get more intense. It starts with moving into his apartment and that’s when Bernie and Joan really have issues. While they’re more “honest” and sexual with one another, Danny and Debbie feel connected to one another and everything seems right. As they go through the year, they have their ups and downs and each of their respective best friends try to give them the “what’s what” with relationships. While one couple approaches things with no-holds-barred honesty, the other tries to handle things with love and respect. Either way, each couple tackles relationships and the ups-and-downs that they entail.

Danny and Debbie smile at a Dodgers game.
Danny and Debbie smile at a Dodgers game.

I had many reservations about going to see this film, primarily because I wasn’t overly fond of Kevin Hart’s last film (Ride Along), but I was more than surprised after I left the theater. Not only did I laugh and enjoy the different romances that I saw on the screen, but I also saw a Valentine’s film that cuts most of the sappy crap and doesn’t hold back on giving you the low-down on relationships. Kevin Hart really earned back my trust in him here and Regina Hall has made a grand return to the silver screen. All around, I was really happy with how this film turned out and it easily blows the original away.

While Kevin Hart is really hit-or-miss with me, he absolutely gives it his all in this film and it’s easily the best performance that I’ve seen him give. While he can be over-the-top and insanely annoying at times, he really didn’t bug me this time around. He plays a guy who’s not afraid to call it as he sees it and he has no issue with being loud or disruptive. His quick-wit and comebacks are more than hilarious to watch and his improvisational skills are very impressive. He sold his role and did a fantastic job and I can only hope that we see more of this in his future. He works so well with Ealy as his opposite, but he works even better with Hall.

Bernie and Danny dress up for Halloween and talk women.
Bernie and Danny dress up for Halloween and talk women.

Regina Hall is quite something in this film. Somehow, she matched Hart’s level of excitement and comedy and that fueled this film even more. Their unconventional relationship works because of their banter and because of the fact that they both try to keep it honest. Hall has no trouble with getting dirty when she has to be and excels when she needs to be loved and cared for. She and Hart create new sparks that so many couples never make in your conventional romantic-comedies. With Hall and Hart, it’s almost all comedy and all truth (to some extent). She’s certainly not new to the acting scene, but her revival is now and she’s one to look out for.

While the comedy is outrageous and keeps you interested, there are two parts to the romantic-comedy. The romance in this film falls on the shoulders of Ealy and Bryant and they do a wonderful job of taking you through the steps of relationships. Their flirting and interactions seem so natural and almost-relatable and that really keeps you involved emotionally in the film. Every couple does things differently and they have their own little things to call their own, but they do face the same problems that other couples do. When Ealy wants to be out partying and Bryant wants to be at home, they fight and it all comes off as authentic. Every ordeal they go through resembles part of what couples choose to bicker about and it’s how they choose to deal with it, that makes their performances to genuine.

Debbie and Joan gossip about the nights that they've just had.
Debbie and Joan gossip about the nights that they’ve just had.

This film does go by pretty quickly, but there are some areas where it sort of glossed over. You get both extremes of relationships and they explore the more sexual one most, but you don’t get far past the surface of the “romantic” relationship. The fights never get too extreme and the resolves are nothing spectacular. Rather than getting a real “make-up”, you get a half-assed movie attempt that’s been done in far too many romantic-comedies. Things get a bit upsetting when the film resorts to old-school clichés and formulas, especially because this film breaks so many barriers that other romantic-comedies don’t. For a while there’s a good stretch of time where everything is predictable and it’s just unfortunate because the rest of the film is really great.

About Last Night is a very fresh venture into the realm of the romantic-comedy drama and it doesn’t hold back in most places. There’s a lot to enjoy here (if you’re fine with lots of adult language and scenarios) and you’ll leave the film feeling pretty great. There’s a lot of truth in the film to ponder afterwards and you’re going to wonder why they don’t make more films like this. If the third act could have been cleaned up a bit more and could have removed some of the cliché romantic beats, this would be a film that would excel in every way. Kevin Hart and Regina Hall carry most of the film’s weight and the two of them make seeing this film a must. If you’re in the mood for a good Valentine’s film that everyone can enjoy, look no further than About Last Night!

About Last Night Trailer
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNZFE3z0T7E

3.5 STARS!!!

3.5 / 5 stars     

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