Review: About Last Night
PLOT: A modern take on the 1980s romantic comedy following two couples as they attempt to navigate their relationships.
REVIEW: There are practically two different movies going on in ABOUT LAST NIGHT: One is an amusingly ribald, over-the-top comedy with lovably irrepressible characters. The other is a humdrum rom-com/drama tracking the uneventful highs and lows of a "nice" couple's relationship. These two movies coexist fairly well together, but the raunchy comedy is so much more entertaining that it all but renders the relationship dramedy pointless. After all, I'd rather hang out with the fun couple, wouldn't you?
Kevin Hart and Regina Hall are the fun couple, Bernie and Joan. They're sassy, argumentative and immature - perfect for one another and yet almost too much alike to be compatible. The bountiful energy of these two actors, combined with their obvious on-screen chemistry, make every Bernie-and-Joan scene a humorously caustic affair.
However, Bernie and Joan's boring friends dominate much of the movie. Michael Ealy plays Danny, a moderately successful restaurant supply salesman who meets Joan's friend Debbie, played by Joy Bryant, during a double date. They hit it off quickly, and the relationship escalates even quicker, from the acknowledgment of the fact that they're dating, to the passing over of the spare key, to the inevitable moving-in together and first "I love you." Yada yada.
But who wants to watch the relatively normal going-ons of a stable, if not perfect, relationship? Ealy and Bryant are attractive people and perfectly fine actors, but Danny and Debbie are dullsville, and their problems don't amount to a hill of beans, really: She kinda wants a kid, he sorta doesn't; she tells him to quit his job because he's unhappy there, he does it. There's is an absurd lack of drama here, and a more passionless romance couldn't be imagined. Honestly, if it weren't for an early montage depicting them in various love-making positions, you'd be convinced they were bickering roommates.
Thankfully, Hart and Hall come along every other scene to interject some hyperactive life into the proceedings. Hart's Bernie is a typically bawdy, sex-obsessed man-child with a yearning for kinky affairs in the bedroom, while Joan is every bit his equal in each regard. I knew Taylor had a taken for broad comedy from her outstanding supporting turns in the SCARY MOVIE flicks (not kidding, go back if you must and watch her steal every scene she's in), but I'll admit Hart is the true revelation. I gave Hart a very mixed review for his obnoxious turn in RIDE ALONG, though I did note it was entirely conceivable that the lame material was primarily to blame for my less-than-enthusiastic reaction to that performance. And turns out I was right, because in ABOUT LAST NIGHT Hart exudes just the right amount of manic bravado and natural screen presence to prove why he's likely to be our next big comedic movie star.
Is it possible to recommend one half of a film highly while giving the other half a negative review? I'm doing so here; it's tough to assign a number rating in a situation like this, but I figure the fun sections are really fun, while the not-so-fun portions are merely generic and dull, so the final rating edges toward the positive end of the spectrum.