About Last Night is a raunchy and sordid interpretation of both its original 1986 version and the play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, which focuses on couples drifting through both the good and bad, and the happy and sad of relationships. Simply replace the setting with Los Angeles and add in the loudmouth and hysterical Kevin Hart, and you have a pretty decent grasp on Steve Pink’s latest.
At face value, About Last Night may seem like a completely pointless remake that will do nothing for the romantic comedy genre, which is already in shambles and devoid of any creativity. Everything about this film’s conception and presence screamed “Take your significant other to the cinema on Valentine’s Day and watch Kevin Hart make an a** of himself.” Naturally, he does make an a** of himself, portraying an infectiously laugh out loud funny boyfriend and wingman. That being said, About Last Night isn’t just a one trick pony riding off of Hart’s recent astonishing success and rise to fame.
It’s the script by David Mamet and Leslye Headland that really allows About Last Night to provide interesting commentary on relationships, even if it doesn’t necessarily break the conventions of the genre. The writing is simply sharp, effective enough and surprisingly realistic. Again, they may not be doing anything revolutionary here, but they clearly have an understanding of modern relationships and how to analyze them.
Sometime after an emotional breakup with his girlfriend, Danny (Michael Ealy) is convinced by his best friend Bernie (Kevin Hart) that he needs to get laid. After a night of some heavy bar drinking, Danny enters into a one night fling with Debbie (Joy Bryant), the roommate of Bernie’s girlfriend Joan (Regina Hall). Neither is actually looking for a relationship, but naturally find similarities and things they like about each other shortly after – escalating into the more serious phases of a relationship, testing both characters.
While Danny and Debbie are like-minded and more mature, Bernie and Joan’s relationship complements our new lovers through immaturity, yelling, insincerity, selfishness and all around chaos that really puts the core of About Last Night’s themes into perspective. There couldn’t be a larger rift in total dissonance between their relationships, and that’s why the film works. Bernie is always trying to weasel his way out of commitment and offering terrible wingmen advice that no one in a serious relationship should never take to heart.
That doesn’t mean that Danny and Debbie are the epitome of perfect relationships though. As previously mentioned, About Last Night presents us with a window into the lives of these four characters over an entire year, filled with ups, downs, heartbreak, struggle, and all the baggage that comes with balancing relationships, friendships and work. All four protagonists commit naive or immature acts at some point in the film, and how they deal with it moving forward is what makes the story so engaging.
It also helps that director Steve Pink does a fantastic job at creating hilarious chemistry between all four leads. Kevin Hart and Regina Hall shine and steal the spotlight amidst their ridiculously dysfunctional relationship, most notably during a Thanksgiving themed scene where all hell breaks loose. Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant also put in a commendable performance, excellently expressing a relationship that is sincere and earnest amidst its hardships.
About Last Night also actually puts its foundation as a sex comedy to good use, by creating some truly obscene and memorable scenes – like Kevin Hart and Regina Hall competing in Rock Paper Scissors to determine who gets on top. Moments like that are what the recently released That Awkward Moment needed to breathe some energy and entertainment into it. If sex is going to be a selling point in a comedy, it needs to come with comedic beats instead of feeling peppered in to advance the story.
Unfortunately, however, the jokes and drama can’t maintain steam forever, and eventually fall into a final act that rolls out the usual tropes. Chances are you’ll probably be able to pinpoint the moment the movie loses its appeal and begins trekking towards the path that all conventional romantic comedies find themselves on towards their climax. Thankfully though, the actual ending scene is a slightly unique moment, so it’s not all downhill. Plus, despite falling into conventions, the ending actually has one of the funniest scenes in the entire film.
About Last Night might not have completely flipped the genre on its head, but it succeeds by executing its conventional beats with pure hilarity and genuine emotion. Everyone involved – especially Kevin Hart – bring their A-game.
Forget your significant other, spend Valentine's Day with Kevin Hart and About Last Night.