Thursday, February 27, 2014

[Review] About Last Night (2014)

Bernie (Kevin Hart) is the rambunctious horndog buddy of Danny (Michael Ealy), who is on the more romantic, Drakier side. Debbie (Joy Bryant) is subdued and conservative. She describes her friend Joan (Regina Hall) as the "crazy one." During a double-date, Bernie gets obliterated drunk with Joan and the two take off to the bathroom, while Danny and Debbie leave quietly and spark a relationship in typical rom-com fashion. 

About Last Night follows an acutely similar template to the 1986 original film of the same name. The plot is nearly beat-for-beat and some scenes and lines of dialogue are identical. It also uses conversational intercuts between the duos of counterparts. And thematically, the story explores the conflicts and dynamics of relationships, the undermining games that occur, and the push-and-pull between friends.

Even though it's nearly a copy (with a new cast), this film has a freshness that makes it more entertaining than the original. The length is shorter and the pacing is more succinct compared to the often lulling former version. Maybe most importantly, it's edgier, raunchier, and it provides bigger laughs, many thanks to Kevin Hart's comedic timing. Regina Hall and Kevin Hart hijack a riotous Thanksgiving scene, notably improving on the first.

Despite the upgrades, the film stays too similar to its predecessor, holding it back to just decent at best. The story loses its steam toward the end and dives into banal schmaltz. However, this modern rendition still has enough high points to please, but your total amount of satisfaction will ultimately depend on your relationship with this genre.


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