About Last Night Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant, Kevin Hart, Regina Hall. Directed by Steve Pink. Rated R. Opens Friday.
David Mamet’s 1974 play Sexual Perversity in Chicago made for awkward source material in 1986’s About Last Night…, which unsuccessfully combined Mamet’s repetitive, mannered dialogue and macho bluster with a lightweight romantic comedy starring hot young stars Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. Nearly 30 years later, director Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine) and screenwriter Leslye Headland (Bachelorette) have more successfully melded Mamet’s basic structure with an audience-friendly sensibility, producing a new version of About Last Night that may not be brilliant, but is at least entertaining and relatable.
TV veterans Michael Ealy (Almost Human) and Joy Bryant (Parenthood) take over for Lowe and Moore as urban singles Danny and Debbie, whose yearlong relationship, from dating to cohabitation and beyond, unfolds over the course of the movie. They have a much more relaxed, natural chemistry than Lowe and Moore did, and it’s easy to buy into their burgeoning romance. Regina Hall and emerging superstar Kevin Hart play the pair’s bickering best friends, providing sharp comic relief without overwhelming the love story. Pink and Headland still throw in some worn-out battle-of-the-sexes material, and the story unfolds rather predictably, even if you’ve never seen the original. Getting to the inevitable end, however, is a refreshingly pleasant experience.