'Last Night' better when it's funny
Kevin Hart brings his “A” game to “About Last Night.” For those of us despairing that we'd ever see the little man at his antic best, after that lame second concert film and half-speed blockbuster “Ride Along,” that's good news.
Paired up with Regina Hall, who gives as good as she gets, in the raunchy romantic African-American remake of the 1986 Rob Lowe/Demi Moore romance based on David Mamet's play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” Hart knocks back drinks and blasts out one-liner observations about the opposite sex and relationships.
And Hall, as Joan to Hart's Bernie, throws it right back at him and anybody else within range.
Their banter is so sharp and so well-timed that in many of their scenes, this ill-matched but perfectly suited couple are shouting funny stuff at the same time. And they're so good they overwhelm the romantic leads.
That would be the “serious” couple, played by Rob and Demi back in the day, here performed with a minimum of pathos and comic pop by Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant.
Theirs is the relationship we track, one so predictable and bland that the movie is waiting on Hart to show up again and Hall to march into the scene and take him down.
Danny (Ealy) meets Debbie (Bryant) in the middle of a drunken, out-of-control outing with Bernie and Joan. Over the months, as the louder couple feud, break up and drunkenly hook back up, Debbie and Danny get close, closer, then domestic.
The boys and girls debrief each other in assorted L.A. bars (sexual perversity in Los Angeles, this time), where it's always “About Last Night” — explicit, blow-by-blow accounts of seductions, pickups and the wrong moves each thinks the other is making. One commits, the other “knows when to get out.”
Breakups are abrupt and kind of half-hearted in Leslye Headland's updated script.
The sex scenes are less romantic and generally played more for laughs. And the conclusions are obvious shortly after the opening credits.
But what keeps us around until the closing credits, where Hart and Hall bust each other up, is the electrical charge between those two. They're the Wimbledon Finals of sexy, sassy, drunken comic banter — two pros, evenly matched enough to put on a great show, even if they make us forget about the rest of the movie around them as they do.
Roger Moore is a staff writer for McClatchy-Tribune News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.