Meg’s tip: There are some movies about dating that get so real that it requires a double take to convince you that it’s just a film trying to draw you in. That’s precisely the effect of “About Last Night."
“About Last Night," directed by Steve Pink, opened to audiences on Valentine’s Day with big names headlining, such as Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall and Joy Bryant.
An adaptation of David Mamet’s play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago," “About Last Night” dispels much of the bad mouthing that films working to meet this end have endured. Some will argue that the story added nothing substantial to the original screenplay, but moments of comedic exaggerations made the story come to life.
The comedy centers on the lives of two couples looking for love, getting it wrong and working to make things right. The lessons in love these couples encounter say just as much about building romantic relationships as they do about how to find one’s purpose in life.
More specifically, Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy assume the roles of Bernie and Danny respectively. The two friends could not differ more. Danny is a year removed from a long-term relationship and struggles with the idea of finally letting go. Bernie, the free spirited man of many jokes, wants more than anything to help a brother out.
Speaking of the ladies, we learn that Bernie is seeing a woman named is Joan. Played by Regina Hall, Joan’s wild and upbeat ways strategically matches Bernie’s personality. This dynamic can be attributed to the magic made in this Mad Men-esque, love-hate relationship. As weird as it may sound, putting Hart in a position where he must show a more softened, romantic side proves to be a genius choice.
As the story builds, Bernie’s growing relationship with Joan opens up an opportunity for Danny to meet Joan’s roommate named Debbie. Played by Joy Bryant, Debbie is a breath of fresh air to Joan’s dark, turbulent waters. Noticing this, Danny decides to give romance a try.
By the film’s end, audiences are left wanting more. The time that the main characters spend together elicits glee, sadness and an enduring strength in belief. Rarely did anything feel rushed or forced; it was raw and instinctual by nature.
The film’s casting was unbelievably well done. Individually the actors are a riot, but together they were phenomenal. To come down from points of laughter liable to make you lose your breath and enter into the deepest pathos on a moment’s notice is a difficult feat, but it's made to look easy here. In a nutshell, this isn’t just another rom-com. It deserves an entire category of its own.
The timing of this film’s release on Valentine’s Day was superb. It never hurts to have a news peg to bounce the themes of a film on. At the box office, “About Last Night” took the No. 2 spot behind “The LEGO Movie”.
Along with that, Kevin Hart looks like he’s as poised as ever for a big year in film. “About Last Night” and “Ride Along” are two films currently playing that feature Hart. If this says anything about Hart, it's that he is in it for the long haul. Some questioned whether Hart had the staying power to be a big name going into 2014, but don’t forget: the proof is in the numbers held at the box office.
Whether you walk in a Kevin Hart fan or not doesn’t matter. Everyone walks out of this film on his bandwagon. Trust me, I’ve literally keeled over and fallen asleep at one of his previous films after concluding that Hart was not funny. I gave this film a try and was pleasantly surprised.
Brought to audiences by Screen Gems, “About Last Night” is rated R for sexual content, language, and brief drug use.
Megann Horstead is the North Central College Chronicle's social media editor.
This review was reprinted with permission from the North Central Chronicle.