“About Last Night”
Very Good (3 stars)
Rated R for profanity, sexuality, nudity and brief drug use
Running time: 110 minutes
Distributor: Screen Gems
Released in 1986, “About Last Night” revolved around the yearlong effort of a couple of Chicago yuppies (played by Rob Lowe and Demi Moore) to forge a solid relationship on the shaky ground of a one-night stand. The movie was adapted from “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” a dialogue-driven drama by Pulitzer Prize-winner David Mamet (for Glengarry Glen Ross).
Loosely based on the original, this raunchy remake is a romantic comedy ostensibly serving as a vehicle for popular comic-turned-actor Kevin Hart. After all, his character, Bernie, the sidekick in the source material, is now the leading man. Furthermore, the setting has been shifted to L.A., where much of the humor caters to the African-American palate, since the principal cast members are now all black.
The film happens to be at its best when over the top Bernie’s talking trash. For instance, he brags about leaving a recent sexual conquest’s “edges nappy,” an inside joke insinuating that the session was so steamy it had literally uncurled his partner’s straightened hair.
Directed by Steven Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine), the picture co-stars Regina Hall opposite Hart as his love interest, Joan. Rounding out the principal cast are Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant as Danny and Debbie, the aforementioned twosome who decide to give serious commitment a go.
At the point of departure we are introduced to Bernie and Danny, best friends and co-workers at a restaurant supply company. The former recounts a purely lustful escapade he shared with Joan, prior to introducing the latter to her roommate. Danny goes gaga over Debbie, and the cinematic table is set.
Bernie and Joan remain incessantly in heat, and can’t keep their hands off each other. By contrast, Danny and Debbie prove to be introspective enough to move in together, buy furniture, adopt a pet, and generally map out a future.
The plot thickens when Danny loses his job and ends up tending bar at Casey’s, a saloon frequented by his stalker ex-girlfriend (Paula Patton). It doesn’t help that Bernie’s already been pressuring his suddenly-domesticated pal to revert to sowing his wild oats.
Regardless, the resulting relationship tensions still take a back seat to lighthearted banter in this superficial adventure laced with one-liners like, “If this bitch were any dumber, you’d have to water her.” Look for quickie cameos by NFL great Terrell Owens as well as by Rob Lowe and Demi Moore courtesy of a clip from original.
ALN 2.0, a bawdy variation on the theme establishing Kevin Hart as a bona fide box-office attraction.