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Friday, February 14, 2014

About Last Night 2014 * * Stars

About Last NightDirector: Steve Pink
Year: 2014
Rated R
Rating: * * Stars
Cast: Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall

Let me start this review off by saying that I still think Kevin Hart is a solid comedic actor. However, after the recently dismal Ride Along, he strikes out once again as the co-lead (along with Michael Ealy) in About Last Night. As Hart's third release in as many months, this is a fast paced, overly fast cutting, disjointed, rom com remake (if you can call it a remake or better yet, even categorize it as a romantic comedy) that I wouldn't even consider taking a date to. In fact, it's not really a movie but rather a series of hyper kinetic, forced scenes that seem spliced together.

Directed by the guy who brought you 2010's Hot Tub Time Machine and harboring a character that in real life, would have cirrhosis of the liver (I'm referring to Hart's Bernie Jackson who gets hammered in almost every frame), About Last Night follows two couples who begin their relationships with a one night stand only to sustain them almost a year later. One of the couples is Bernie Jackson (Hart) and Joan Derrickson (played with off-the-wall insanity by Regina Hall). The other couple is Danny Martin (Michael Ealy) and Debbie Sullivan (Joy Bryant). Hart and Hall's characters seem to be meant for each other. They are both crazy and offensive. Ealy and Bryant's characters are not meant for each other even though the audience is forced to accept this fact. And for the record, it was hard for me to believe that all four of these people were anything but total strangers. I couldn't even fathom why Danny and Bernie were friends. Maybe it's because in the movie, they work together making them buds by process of elimination. Then there's Debbie and Joan who also don't come off as believable in the same regard. They're roommates in "About" so I guess that means that they're besties (again by process of elimination). Joan as mentioned two sentences ago, may be a psychotic nut. But at least she has something of a personality. Debbie on the other hand, has about as much personality as a rock. In the beginning of the proceedings, they all sit down for drinks at a club. That scene sets everything in motion and as a critic, I already knew that a bad movie going experience lay ahead of me. Sad to say I was right.

Now as a given prerequisite, I haven't seen the original 1986 version of About Last Night. From what I heard though, it has gained a small cult following. Whereas the old original was set in Chicago, this new one takes place in glamorous L.A. The 2014 version even gives the original a subtle nod when it has it playing on cable TV (as Ealy's character and Bryant's character are sitting at home while having a date night). I can't say that both versions are completely different from each other because that would be pure speculation. However, I am certain that the only thing these two flicks have in common are the title and the vague, central theme. That's it (you know, the whole one-night stand thing).

Anyway, you can tell what's unfolding, but this new reboot doesn't have much continuity, shape, or flow. The trailer leads us to believe that we're in for a warm, funny, laughable treat. So much for the trailer. What's on screen is a downer with a razor thin plot and characters who are unlikable, not believable as friends or lovers, sappy, and downright dull. If this is a foretelling of movies that are to be released on Hallmark's most glorious holiday, then you can just count me out. When I go take in a flick, I'd rather not see people argue, scream at each other, complain about nothing, and drink their sorrows away. I want to be entertained. So what's left huh? Laughs? Well with About Last Night, they're mild at best. There is a crassness and a vulgarity in the humor that unfortunately doesn't come off as funny, but rather annoying and eye-rolling. The result after 1 hour and 40 minutes is disappointing and tirelessly repetitive to say the least.

Overall, I'd liked to forget about this thing and set my sights toward the much anticipated Think Like a Man Too (slated for a summer release). Ealy, Hart, and Hall will be reprising their roles in the sequel to a guilty pleasure of mine being 2012's original Think Like a Man. These talented actors/actresses just mentioned, could possibly find their way and put this convoluted, superficial mess behind them. I for one, am pulling for Hart. His early comedic work made me a fan. So by that token, let's hope that About Last Night, is his "last" mediocre installment as he moves up Hollywood's power list.

Written by Jesse Burleson

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