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About Last Night Remake Neither Romantic nor Comedic

  • Susan Ellingburg Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
  • 2014 2 Feb
  • COMMENTS
<i>About Last Night</i> Remake Neither Romantic nor Comedic

DVD Release Date: May 20, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: February 14, 2014
Rating: R (sexual content, language and brief drug use)
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Run Time: 100 minutes
Director: Steve Pink
Cast: Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant

About Last Night is billed as a romantic comedy, which seems odd considering it is almost totally devoid of either romance or comedy. What this modern reimagining of the 1986 movie does have is sex, crude language, bad behavior, and a really cute dog. Unfortunately, the dog doesn't show up for some time and he doesn't have nearly enough screen time for his adorable furry face to overcome all the filth that came before.

Having now sat through the entire 100 minutes of the film I am amazed they managed to find enough footage to create even a thirty-second trailer suitable for television audiences. It’s not just that the dialogue is all about sex; it’s the ugly, degrading tone of the language that really grates on the nerves. Women and men alike were objectified as nothing more than walking sexual organs available to be used and abused on a whim. Hostile, biting profanities were fired back and forth as a kind of foreplay. Is this really what passes for romance these days?

What made the experience worse was that the acting was quite good, and I don't just mean in the many and varied sex scenes. Michael Ealy (Unconditional) used his beautiful eyes to great effect, displaying the wide range of emotions lurking beneath Danny’s even-keeled exterior. Debbie (Joy Bryant, Antwone Fisher), Danny’s love interest, could say more with a quick curl of her lip than her loudmouth friends got out in an entire soliloquy. They made such a nice couple; if only they had a better peer group… As it was, their so-called friends' idea of support was to be negative, insulting, hateful, and drunk. Which brings us to the unlovely occasional couple, Bernie (Kevin Hart, Grudge Match) and Joan (Regina Hall, The Best Man Holiday). These two were just nasty. They were believably nasty—see previous comment about the quality of the acting—but that only made their antics more unpleasant. It’s a shame such talented performers feel the need to shovel filth down the audience’s throat and more of a shame that audiences are so willing to be fed this kind of poison.

The little bit of plot tucked in between Hart’s potty-mouthed rants mostly revolves around Debbie and Danny’s relationship. This could actually be characterized as a romance; many of their moments together are sweet and occasionally funny. They’re well-matched as a couple; with a better script it would have been a pleasure to watch them.

It’s interesting—and sad—to see these couples who think nothing of casual intercourse but practically hyperventilate over the possibility that all this copulating might "mean something." They're all so afraid to admit they have feelings beyond lust, as if that’s some kind of weakness. It hamstrings their relationships, which is a problem when Danny and Debbie try to build a life together. Their friends don’t help, trying to pull the couple apart in an attempt to keep everyone on the same level of availability. They just can’t fathom why anyone would want to be committed to just one person. Despite this, Debbie and Danny stick with their friends, which does at least make for a mildly entertaining Thanksgiving celebration.

Despite Danny and Debbie's relative charm, the moral ugliness of most of the characters leaves a bad taste that not even the best movie popcorn can overcome. These people’s determined efforts to be nothing more than animals in heat is depressing to watch. Apparently the writers believe profanity equals comedy, drunkenness equals happiness, tearing down one another equals friendship, and sex equals love. If that’s your idea of romantic comedy, then About Last Night will be right up your gutter… er, alley. If not, please find something more worthy of your time.

CAUTIONS:

  • Drugs/Alcohol: There’s a lot of drinking, considerable drunkenness, and several major hangovers. A couple of characters smoke pot.
  • Language/Profanity: It’s probably safe to say that if it’s a sexually-oriented word—including both technical and slang names for body parts—it was in the movie. I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with all the foul language, but every major profanity (including the f-bomb) and a host of minor words made up the majority of the dialogue. Not only was the language profane, it was degrading, dehumanizing, and disgusting.
  • Sex/Nudity: Roughly 99% of the film is about sex; the characters are shown before, during, and after the act. When not actually engaged in the deed characters talk about sex in exhausting and coarse detail. Warning: you may never look at your dentist’s chair the same way again. Skimpy clothing is the norm, including some serious cleavage and super-short skirts. We see women in their underwear, but no frontal nudity. Men are shown nude, but only seen from the waist up.
  • Violent/Frightening/Intense: There are some ugly screaming matches; a woman slaps her partner in the face during sex. The dog runs through traffic across a busy street.

Publication date: February 14, 2014