About Last Night is crude, but cute look at relationships
We’re in the midst of a renaissance period for black romantic comedies. The emphasis is placed on characters dealing with relationship issues. It’s led to some enjoyable efforts like Think Like a Man and The Best Man Holiday. Add About Last Night to that list. It’s an often hilarious look at two couples trying to navigate through the ups and downs of a relationship.
After falling in lust after a one-night stand, Joan (Regina Hall) and Bernie (Kevin Hart, Grudge Match) decide to play matchmaker.
They pair up their two less adventurous friends — Danny (Michael Ealy, Think Like a Man) and Debbie (Joy Bryant, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins).
Although neither feels especially ready for a relationship, Danny and Debbie can’t deny their attraction. Ealy and Bryant make a cute couple. Their interaction as a couple feels genuine and it’s easy to buy into their romance.
Director Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine) captures the freshness and spontaneity of a new relationship well with tender moments that aren’t absurdly dramatic and resists the urge to make any scene too over the top for the sake of a big laugh.
Screenwriter Leslye Headland turns down the raunchier tone she had in her screenwriting debut Bachelorette. Headland finds a better balance of adults exploring their sexuality without making them sound like 13-year-olds discovering porn. It helps that the Joan/Bernie pairing allows her to craft some X-rated dialogue without derailing the film.
While she lately stars in more reserved roles, Hall really got her career rolling in the Scary Movie franchise. She’s perfectly comfortable playing louder, obnoxious characters. With his megawatt charisma, Hart can easily overshadow his co-stars, but Hall has no problem match him.
Hart, a legitimate ‘funniest man in America’ candidate, delivers exactly as expected. Capitalizing on Hart’s popularity, the trailers show too many of his best jokes.
About Last Night’s script has some rough patches. Headland doesn’t provide any solid reason for trouble with Danny and Debbie. A subplot with Danny’s ‘uncle’ (Christopher McDonald) goes nowhere.
At just over 100 minutes, the film starts to feel a bit long. Trimming some of the Bernie/Joan fights down would have helped. But the final act rebounds nicely in a non-traditional romantic comedy fashion.
Wisely timed for a Valentine’s Day release, couples (and fans of the genre) won’t find a better option than About Last Night.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Photo Credit: Matt Kennedy/Screen Gems Productions, Inc.