Genre: Comedy, Romance
Director: Steve Pink
Cast: Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald, Paula Patton
Release Date: February 14th, 2014
About Last Night, look the new romantic comedy featuring the comedic talents of Kevin Hart but little else, attempts to show two couples growing together in the real world after they spend time in the bedroom. The problem, though, is that both couples are composed of selfish people whose ambitions are hard to understand and whose motivations are hard to believe.
Hart stars as Bernie, a vivid character whose enthusiasm is hard to control. Michael Ealy plays Danny, his best friend and co-worker whose love life has been flat-lining since his break-up with troublemaker Alison (Paula Patton) a few months prior. When Bernie brings his new female friend Joan (Regina Hall) out on a date, she brings her roommate Debbie (Joy Bryant), a woman she says is living a boring life (in the same way that Bernie says that Danny is).
While Bernie and Joan continue dating, Danny and Debbie begin their own relationship, which starts in the bedroom and grows from there. A dichotomy is set up between the two unique relationships showing the personal connection that Danny and Debbie share and the love-hate relationship that Bernie and Joan develop.
The story’s opening is inevitably superficial and it’s obvious from their introduction that Danny and Debbie are going to end up together. What isn’t obvious are the series of unsubtle actions that all of the characters take during the course of this silly rom-com.
Joe Lo Truglio, who does some fine comedic work on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, appears as Ryan Keller, Bernie and Danny’s goofy boss but the scenes surrounding that job never really click. All three men work in the restaurant supplies business but what they actually do is left to the imagination. Bernie’s father was close to Casey McNeil (Christopher McDonald), the owner of a local bar who says Bernie has never brought a date there but whose overall inclusion and importance in the story feel like an afterthought.
Danny feels like the most interesting character here but his motivations and his intentions are never fully realized leading him to make impulsive choices from beginning to end. In one scene, he has a huge fight with Debbie but his reasoning behind it is never explained. In another, he randomly quits his job. In another, he almost gets back together with Alison. It’s perhaps the superficiality of his character that prevents him from ever coming across as genuine or realistic.
Hart, a comedian who cannot be faulted for not trying, aims to please with his larger-than-life character. He aims heartily to earn laughs and succeeds in a few rare moments with Hall, who feels like a perfect fit for him. But for most of the time, the laughs just aren’t there and the story features one missed opportunity after another.
About Last Night aims to please and for most of the audience I saw the film with, it succeeded admirably. It’s unfortunate though to see the story’s scattershot attitude and to realize that the character’s actions feel more dictated by the plot by than their own internal passions. Adapated from David Mamet’s Sexual Perversity in Chicago, About Last Night offers up a few elements that could work but ultimately drowns them under the weight of its superficial characters and unfunny sex jokes.
Review by: John Hanlon