Bernie and Danny are best friends and have been watching each other's backs for years. So when Bernie hooks up with this amazing girl (Joan is her name) at a club one night―and has an "epic" encounter in spite of the abundance of booze that almost derails their "festivities"―he can't help but want to share the joy with his pal.
And by sharing the joy, what he means is helping to hook Danny up with Joan's roommate, Debbie. In Bernie's opinion, Danny's so good looking that he ought to be "scoring" every night. But the dude's been really down after breaking up with his last girl, so sex hasn't been his priority (like Bernie thinks it should be).
Debbie's just coming off a breakup too. So when Bernie and Joan get hammered once again and stagger off to the ladies' room for a little, uh, romance, Danny asks to walk Debbie out. One thing leads to another and …
After about a month or so, the volatile Bernie and Joan are on the outs. Debbie and Danny, however, have moved from new-friends-with-big-benefits to actual dating to going to baseball games together to kinda figuring that it might be fun to move in together.
Bernie, of course, thinks his best bud has gone plumb loco. "Why limit yourself?" is his philosophy. Having the attentions of a smokin' hot chick is cool, he babbles, but there are so many smokin' hot chicks with a drink in hand at any bar you might visit.
Anyway, Bernie decides to just bide his time. There are already cracks forming in Dan and Deb's relationship, he concludes. He's seen this all before. So he settles in and watches his buddy's back. That is, except when he's too busy with his own girl of the hour, off somewhere at it again.
That's love, Bernie smirks. You never know what's gonna happen, or who'll be sitting on the next bar stool over.
Aside from the fact that the film assumes a sleep-with-anybody-and-everybody attitude is the norm, it's fair to say that Danny and Debbie are a generally level-headed pair. They're both kind, gentle and caring, and both refuse to cheat. And we see that they're committed to making a lasting relationship work. (Not marriage, precisely, but you have to take what you can get with movies like these.) "You being here makes this place a home," Danny tells his love at one point.
A girl at a party is dressed in a sexy nun's costume.
Alas, even the spiritual content is sexual in About Last Night. And things get a whole lot worse before they never get better. This film's original source material, after all, is a play called Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and except for the fact that the action here takes place in L.A., that title is actually a much better fit.
Closely examined and oft-repeated sexual encounters involve the leads showing up mostly naked and grinding away any residual shred of decency in a multitude of sexual positions and in a variety of locales (everything from apartment bedrooms to public restroom stalls). Sometimes those lusty interactions are played for laughs (with leg cramps and the like). But always they're designed to titillate, with explicit movements and sounds mixed with partial breast and backside nudity.
Vivid conversations revolve around oral sex, gay sex, sexual positions, genital sizes and shapes, S&M-like slapping and "torture" of certain body parts, the application of prophylactics, sex dolls and sexual cellphone pictures. Indeed, nearly everything Bernie utters is the equivalent of one overly long raunchy discussion of some body part or sex act. Provocative dresses and costumes featuring spilling cleavage and accented curves are the outfits of choice for literally every girl in every club and bar scene in this film. (And there are many.)
During one late night let's-see-who-can-drink-everybody-else-under-the-table competition, blitzed guys start stabbing one another with a dart from a nearby dartboard.
Crude or Profane Language
F- and s-words are spit out over 50 times apiece. We hear a dozen or so uses each of "b‑‑ch," "a‑‑" and "d‑‑n." "H‑‑‑" crops up a few times. God's name is misused about 15 times―a third of which are in combo with the aforementioned "d‑‑n." Also as mentioned, there are scores and scores of crude, rude and obscene references made to male and female genitalia.
Drug and Alcohol Content
Danny and Bernie (and their various male friends) are regular patrons of all the bars in the area. They seem to be at one or another constantly and either talking about or actually in the process of guzzling beer, wine and various hard liquors to the point of physical impairment. The girls are, perhaps, less enthusiastic drinkers, but they're far from teetotalers. Joan in particular throws back too much booze on several occasions. Danny's ex shows up and gets drunk at one point, and Danny has to take her back to his apartment to keep her safe.
Debbie and Joan share a joint; Debbie gets noticeably buzzed.
Other Negative Elements
This fetid flick is a remake of another fetid flick from 1986 which was based on a fetid 1974 David Mamet stage play. It wants to be your Valentine's date-night go-to. It wants to be a next-gen romantic-comedy standard. It wants to be a classic film that deals with those age-old mainstays of attraction, dating and love—and their candy heart side garnishes of fantasies, failures, frustrations, false starts and, finally, maybe, faithfulness.
It Happened One Night (in the 1930s) did some of those things. Sabrina (in the '50s) did some of those things. The Goodbye Girl (in the '70s) did some of those things. And even the likes of Sleepless in Seattle (in the '90s) did some of those things.
But About Last Night (in the '10s) cannot even begin to do any of those things. Today's cinematic "sensibilities" about attraction―and the instantly explicit on-camera action that often follows―have changed everything so drastically that it's virtually impossible to re-create the fun and romantic tension of any of those films. It's no longer a dramatic question of "We've know each other for weeks now, are we dating yet?" Instead we get, "We've been having sex for hours now, what's your name again?"
And that is this pic's ugly failing. It presents a one-dimensional romcom tale in a crude, crass, offensive and completely forgettable way. There's no mystery about why its characters are having relationship problems—because there's no mystery about last night.
Other Belief Systems
Readability Age Range
Kevin Hart as Bernie; Michael Ealy as Danny; Regina Hall as Joan; Joy Bryant as Debbie; Christopher McDonald as Casey McNeil; Paula Patton as Alison
Steve Pink (Hot Tub Time Machine, Accepted)
February 14, 2014
Bob Hoose Bob Hoose