DIR: Steve Pink • WRI: Leslye Headland • PRO: Will Gluck, William Packer • DOP: Michael Barrett • ED: Tracey Wadmore-Smith, Shelly Westerman • MUS: Marcus Miller • DES: Jon Gary Steele • CAST: Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant
There is a problem with movies featuring Kevin Hart. Despite not being the obvious protagonist, his miniature presence has once again proven to steal the show in this cheesy rom-com. A remake of the 1986 movie of the same name starring Demi Moore, this is a modernised and RnB-smothered Los Angeles tale of an infatuated love story without the devotion.
The scene is set for the entire movie as we are introduced to Bernie (Hart) and Danny (Ealy) in a Los Angeles Bar where they discuss sexual antics as we are made to assume that single men walk, talk and think alike five days a week, believing that their barbaric outlook on the average female is completely natural. The discussion at hand is that relating to Joan (Hall), who is having the same discussion on the flip side with best friend Debbie (Bryant). Both Joan and Debbie arrive to meet the guys in the bar as the obnoxious Bernie is hoping to pair Danny with singleton Debbie. Danny is welcomed by Debbie’s warmness but uncomfortable in the presence of Bernie’s crude humour and his uncanny desire toward Joan; who, just like Bernie is so reprehensible, making their relationship all the more exciting and to be honest, comedic. The movie makes a balance of this variety by revealing the lust between Danny and Debbie, something he and Bernie would not condone otherwise – resulting in romance as opposed to Kevin Hart’s comedy.
Divided into three chapters (kind of) About Last Night shows the highs, the lows and the forgiveness in a relationship. Michael Ealy gives a performance of ordinariness as the cheesy talisman. There is some chemistry between Danny and Debbie that give their bond an almost believable tale, however, the circumstance which leads to their relationship that takes place over three chapters in summer winter and spring, seem so much shorter and quite unrealistic.
There is a side story showing Danny and Bernie at work, at an Irish bar run by Shooter McGavin from Happy Gilmore; I mean Casey (Christopher McDonald). If Danny’s relationship status does not make you soppy, Casey’s financial struggle is supposed to, showcasing a level of sensitivity in Danny and Bernie after all. We did not need this, but we get it anyway.
This is a cupid visionary; Danny and Debbie’s walk home leads to something so abrupt and animated, you really question how this has happened for the so-called “team player”. There are some funny scenes involved with both guys at work, but it is the unintentional scenes that are the most comedic and ridiculous – for example, when Debbie wakes up to rub Danny, only to find she is rubbing a headless pillow. Or to enforce the cheesiness, a romantic dinner goes uneaten and basically thrown onto the ground because their lust for one another calls for other things. Both characters are not likable, but not dislikable either. The endless scenes of passionate lovemaking and unnecessary cuddles accompanied by a Bruno Mars soundtrack (and more) makes you look forward to the onscreen antics and to be honest, brilliantly performed chemistry between Bernie and Joan, both of whom prove easy to like but the movie inevitably looks for sympathy in all these characters and frankly, the emotions are so fictitious that you can’t give it any.
Despite all the raunchy foreplay, About Last Night is a film highly dependent on its dialogue, which is left mostly to Kevin Hart’s renowned showcasing of self-depreciation. Say what you will about Hart’s film choices, but he is really starting to come into his own. Those familiar with his stand-up personality will love Hart’s portrayal of a sleazy womaniser. His comedy seems well orchestrated, while his unconscious response to various situations are recognised and appreciated. You get the feeling he is supposed to be playing second fiddle to Michael Ealy’s character, yet the longer the film goes on the more it wants to centre on Kevin Hart.
The saviour, but not quite, Kevin Hart’s wacky character does exactly what the audience may acquire from the comedy side of things. However, he could not save the movie’s romantic integrity which proves tedious the longer it goes on.
16 (SeeIFCO for details)
About Last Night is released on 21st March 2014