If there is one genre of movie that you want to be predictable, it’s the Rom-Com. A good Rom-Com has the meet-cute between the couple, they fall completely head over heels, everything seems great – then there’s trouble, and then there’s some dramatic demonstration of love that brings them back together in the end. It’s a pretty basic formula, but it works well, so why change it? What can make your standard Rom-Com stand out is a great cast, great writing, and a small twist here and there.
The original About Last Night was released in 1986 and starred Rob Lowe, Demie Moore, James Belushi, and Elizabeth Perkins. It was actually based on a David Mamet play.
It was well done, and certainly entertaining enough to be updated. This new version is directed by Steve Pink, who has also directed several episodes of New Girl, as well as Hot Tub Time Machine (sort of funny!) and Accepted (hilarious!).
The story is the same, Bernie and Danny are friends who go out often, Danny is attempting to bounce back from ending a relationship with a crazy woman. Bernie meets Joan, who can match his motor-mouthed craziness, and the two start a passionate affair. Joan’s friend Debbie comes along and starts a slow-burning relationship with Danny. Bernie and Joan flair out quickly, but as Danny and Debbie get closer together, Bernie and Joan have to keep encountering each other. Danny and Debbie move in together, do well – but then encounter a speed bump or two just as Bernie and Joan realize they are meant for each other.
The movie is fairly fast-paced for a Rom-Com, and is paced out by the seasons in terms of passage of time. Each character has some growing to do in their own stories, and the cast is really what elevates it.
- Kevin Hart plays Bernie and is one of my favorite stand-up comedians and he is attacking his movie career with fervor. He’s great in this – but he’s basically playing Kevin Hart. In fact, this character is almost exactly the same as his character in Ride Along. If you’re a Kevin Hart fan, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and in fact, it helps make the movie more enjoyable. He does show some talent in the more dramatic scenes, and I would not be surprised if much further along in his career we see him do some gritty dramas and get recognized for them.
- Regina Hall plays Joan and is an exceptionally talented comedienne, and you will probably recognize her from Scary Movie 1 through 4, as well as many other movies and TV shows. She is hilarious, and is genuinely capable of keeping pace with Kevin Hart’s improvs. She’s fire-y and funny and the perfect pairing for him. The relationship between Bernie and Joan would not have worked nearly as well with a different actress.
- The unbearably handsome Michael Ealy plays Danny (the industrial accident line fit Rob Lowe perfectly, and it also fits Michael Ealy perfectly). He’s been working very hard for a long time, but lately with the TV show Almost Human (which is fantastic!) and this movie, hopefully he’ll being getting his due. He has the biggest character arc in the movie, and the most backstory. He plays Danny as a bit mopey at the beginning, but then really grows into learning what he really wants to do with his life.
- Joy Bryant plays the conservative Debbie, and does a great job in this as she slowly falls for Danny, then realizes he might not be in line with what she wants, and then realizing how much she needs him. I really enjoyed her in Hit and Run in which she played a completely different character, and she’s currently on Parenthood.
- Christopher McDonald, who has been in everything, but you probably remember best as Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore, plays Casey, Danny’s friend. This is the most understated role I’ve ever seen him play – he’s usually best in an over-the-top comedy (see the superhero movie spoof – Superhero Movie), but he was really great in this as a struggling bar owner who helps Danny see what he was meant to do.
- Adam Rodriguez from Magic Mike (and CSI Miami) plays Debbie’s boss (and ex?) Steven. He’s just enough rich and seductive to make you worry, and to certainly give Danny some hesitation, but he does seem to be a good guy as the story goes on.
- Paula Patton plays Danny’s crazy ex, Alison. It’s the role Patton has always excelled at – the crazy super-beautiful chick. She has one scene, but she’s pretty hilarious in it. If you want to see her take that role through a whole movie, watch the Queen Latifah/Common Rom-Com, Just Wright.
- Joe Lo Truglio has a couple of truly hilarious scenes as Danny and Bernie’s boss, Ryan. He tries to walk the line between friend and boss, and fails epically –but it’s hilarious.
- Oddly enough, Terrell Owens has one scene as Terrell Owens. It’s pretty fantastic.
The movie is rated R, for both the language and sex, but really – it’s a well-crafted piece of Rom-Com fluff that’s well worth the watch. It’s precisely the right length for a movie of this type, and I really enjoyed it. Check it out – I think you’ll find it really funny!
7 out of 10: Gained points for Lo Trulio and his loudspeaker, lost points for that dog growing up into a different breed of dog? Gained points for Hart running wild through every scene, and getting emotional when necessary – lost points for not having outtakes over the credits…seriously, this movie needs outtakes.
Bonus Video 1: Just Wright – the movie’s not that great, but it’s charming here and there.
Bonus Video 2: Think Like A Man – another hilarious movie with both of these stars – rent it before the sequel comes out later this year.
Bonus Video 3: SuperHero Movie – it’s terrible, but funny here and there…
Bonus Video 4: Cast Interviews