Monday, September 27, 2021

MOVIE REVIEWS: ABOUT LAST NIGHT

February 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Forty years after the original About Last Night … was released, a new version comes along, minus the ellipses, that, unlike most other recent remakes, is actually being better received than the original (which itself was a version of the David Mamet play Sexual Perversity in Chicago). Much of the credit for the improvement is bestowed on the performances of the stars, Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant, Kevin Hart and Regina Hall. Hart, in particular. In the words of Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News: The hilarious Hart is a dynamo, achieving something few comics pull off. He melds standup energy with the requirements of being a romantic figure.Writes A.O. Scott in the New York Times: “Many of the funniest parts seem to arise spontaneously from Mr. Hart’s uncensored brain and fast-moving mouth. He can swerve from tears to mock outrage to anatomically detailed obscenities faster than just about any other comic performer working today, and in Ms. Hall he has found an excellent match. Watching the two of them hurl insults at each other is like witnessing verbal Muay Thai.” Likewise, Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune writes, “In a romcom, there’s no rom without the com. Hart and Hall give it their all.” And Claudia Puig adds in USA Today: “Hart’s 80-mph comic pacing is tough to match, but Hall is equally racy. Their scorched-earth takedowns are fast and furious, sometimes seemingly improvised. … The comic moments are explosively funny, but the quieter drama plays almost as well.” Several critics were less than charmed with the movie, however, although they nevertheless extended props to the performers. “The cast does what it can with — and clearly self-improves upon — the essentially thin, at times choppy material. Raunchy motormouth Hart and the irrepressible Hall … provide some big laughs, particularly during outrageous bedroom bits,” writes Gary Goldstein in the Los Angeles Times. And Mick LaSalle sums up this way: “There’s no critique going on, no point of view, no right and no wrong, no innocent or guilty party — and no dramatic stakes. Two good things: The screenplay has a nice sense of the ways that couples can descend from snippiness into arguing. And Kevin Hart is an excellent comic actor, very funny but always thinking and feeling, staying open and playing off the other actors. He is well paired with Hall, who matches him for comedy.”