About Last Night
This film does teach a profound lesson. Never smoke pot when preparing a Thanksgiving Dinner. Never!
At times wickedly vile, About Last Night surprisingly evolves into a rather gentle love story. But make no mistake, Kevin Hart is one, loud bad ass, and I do mean loud.
The film, directed by Steve Pink, bears little resemblance to the original film by Edward Zwick, released in 1986. On the other hand, can you really imagine Kevin Hart doing little more than trying to play a black James Belushi?
Mr. Hart and Michael Ealy play two business friends who go to a bar with Hart hoping to seduce his expected “date” and nail her in his bedroom. Ealy’s character, Danny, meets Debbie (Joy Bryant), and both are rather quiet and reserved. Danny, trying to escape the aftershocks of a failed relationship, wants to do little more than find a way to escape boredom.
However, Hart’s Bernie hooks up with Joan, played by Regina Hall in a style that is every bit as rude, vulgar and extravagant as her new friend. Doing everything but simulating intercourse at their table, they both are screaming and laughing while consuming an unlimited supply of alcohol. For a moment, you can’t help but wonder if this movie can possibly hold itself together where it means anything.
Mr. Hart’s Bernie is a one-trick pony, nasty beyond belief in any setting. Booze is his religion, and he would have easily fit in with Joseph Gordon Levitt’s friends in last year’s Don Jon. His goal was little more than to find an inebriated, scantily clad, semi-attractive woman to fulfill every rotten desire that he possessed, and it didn’t matter where, how or when.
The important thing to remember is that Mr. Hart goes from annoying to very funny with the help of Ms. Hall. She matches him in every respect, and the two of them are like Roman gladiators who simply have to decide whether their profane bestiality will result in banging each other or physical injury.
In the midst of this turmoil swirls Mr. Ealy and Ms. Bryant, two confused, sensible people who move in with each other. She has a good job while he loses the one that he profoundly dislikes, and their dueling depressions eventually drives them apart.
You know from the beginning that this film is heading towards an ending where our twin set of lovers finally find a way to discover meaning in each others arms. Nothing is forced, and the movie acts as a cinematic magnet as it gradually draws you in to their lives.
When he calms down, Kevin Hart is actually a very good actor. Mr. Ealy has a very relaxed charm, and our two ladies form a set of friends who you can root for.
This film has been a big hit at the box office, and no one can deny that Mr. Hart has appealed to a large crowd. His prior film, Ride Along, is still playing in the theater, and previews are playing for his next film to be released in April, Think Like a Man Too.
Nonetheless, as a movie fan, I can only hope that he seeks counsel on reaching beyond simply playing the same vociferous character. Matthew McConoughey demonstrated that wisdom in his recent films, and Mr. Hart does not want to die a slow cinematic death as a similarly talented colleague, Eddie Murphy.