About Last Night (2014)

Directed by Steve Pink
Written by Leslye Headland

On this Valentine’s Day, couples across the country take the opportunity to celebrate their love. That love is a gift to many, packaged in many different sizes and forms. Openness and honesty are just two of the wonderful attributes that love affords us, being able to speak frankly with our significant others, let all lay bare with no secrets, no filter. Sometimes that is just what we might need after a long day of work, or otherwise. We may get to feel this type of connection in our personal lives if we are so lucky to have formed such a relationship, but what about our night out at the movies? Why don’t we see more films without filters? About Last Night may not be the prime example of love, but it certainly lacks a filter.

Danny (Michael Ealy) plays wingman to friend and co-worker Bernie (Kevin Hart), whose date, Joan (Regina Hall), brings her own buffer and friend, Debbie (Joy Bryant), to the night out at the bar with Bernie. The date plays out like an epic embarrassment for Danny and Debbie, who end up leaving their friends to it. But soon, they find themselves drawn to each, and brought into a relationship of their own, which starts down the tracks of a roller coaster ride. With the highs and lows of the relationship come times of great happiness and great struggle. Along with it, great laughter comes from the comedic team of Hart and Hall, whose own dysfunctional relationship defies all romantic logic.

The paradox of the film is the two forms it seems to take. As a result, the film ends up feeling a bit like an uneven finished product that attempts to mold two separate ideas into one. On the one hand, we are treated to a generic romance driven by Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant. On the other is a vehicle for the hilarious Kevin Hart, whose comedy here is matched toe to toe by Regina Hall. Each storyline on its own provides plenty, but the two never seem to fully integrate into each other, which ultimately creates the imbalance. The greatest victim of the parallel vehicles is the central romance between Danny and Debbie, whose relationship is relegated to a highlight reel of moments, not allowing any real depth to their connection as a couple. I was never able to fully strive for their relationship’s success as a result.

However, the side show of Kevin Hart and Regina Hall is the comedic relief of the romance, dialed up to 11, or maybe even 12. These two made the film as enjoyable as it was. I would even love to see them get even more screen time, as they could have carried their own full-blown comedy start to finish. For as funny as the film can be, I must warn that it maintains a fairly constant sexual discourse throughout. But who should be surprised when the film is based on the David Mamet play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago” and the 1986 film of the same name.

With the backing of director Steve Pink and producer Will Gluck behind the unstoppable force of Kevin Hart, the humor is, and was always going to be, the strength of the film. The romance has its moments of love and tenderness, but it feels far too stunted to be fully realized as a driving force in the film. About Last Night achieves what it set out to do, which is provide a laugh while sprinkling in just enough romance to support a decent date night out. Calling it a perfectly adequate romantic comedy may be a very backhanded way of complimenting the film, but let’s focus on the fact that it’s still very much a compliment.

**1/2 – Average


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