RICHARD CROUSE

REVIEW: About Last Night

Posted By: Richard Crouse · 2/14/2014 8:03:00 AM

It’s the second cinematic go-around for David Mamet's 1974 play, "Sexual Perversity in Chicago."

The 1980s version was a peak into the lives of yuppified twenty-somethings played by pretty people Demi Moore and Rob Lowe.

The new version, in theatres this weekend, changes the location form Chi-Town to Los Angeles, focusing on singles in their 30s. The story hasn’t changed that much, just the faces; this time around the pretty people are played by Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart and Joy Bryant.

The story focuses on two couples. Danny (Ealy) and Debbie (Bryant) and Bernie (Hart) and Joan (Hall). The former are lonely hearts who find one another, but don’t discover the passion needed to sustain their relationship. The latter are all passion with no firm commitment outside of kinky sex and “No you didn’t!” one-liners.

Like the original film the story is organized around various holidays and seasons and follows most of the same plot points but that’s where the similarity ends. Keep in mind, this isn’t a remake of David Mamet’s play, it’s a remake of a movie that was based on Mamet’s play, so there is no reverence for the tone established by one of America’s leading playwrights.

The easy sentimentality of the 1986 film has been replaced by raunchy jokes and situations, and if it is possible for a film, outside of the kind that play at The Pussycat Theatre, to have too many sex scenes, “About Last Night” is that movie. Instead of plot we’re handed sex scenes, but the kind of sex scenes that happen under blankets and reveal nothing, physically or story wise.    

The story relies on the characters to maintain interest, but although they intersect—one of the movie’s stylish twists is the intercutting of scenes between the men and women to highlight their similarities and contrast their differences—the two couples seem to be from different movies.

Hart and Hall appear to be making a farce, while Ealy and Bryant are entrenched in a more sentimental—and duller—film. Hart and Hall have enough personality to make up for the dreary pretty people, but your enjoyment of the film overall may well be linked to your capacity for Kevin Hart’s wild antics.

“About Last Night” is frisky and a little freaky, but not as funny or insightful as it thinks it is.   

2 STARS

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