Kevin Hart's ownership of the winter box office continues with the ribald comedy About Last Night.
Very loosely based on the 1980s dating movie starring Demi Moore and Rob Lowe, which itself was loosely based on the David Mamet play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, About Last Night shifts the perversity to Los Angeles, where randy Bernie (Hart) and emotional Danny (Michael Ealy) are buds who are beginning relationships with randy Joan (Regina Hall) and emotional Debbie (Joy Bryant).
I'm over-using the adjectives "randy" and "emotional" because About Last Night bounces between those two poles. Much of the time, the four main characters are binge-drinking and making frank comments about sex, among which this might be the only printable one: His penis "was impressive but not threatening. It was the John Legend of penises." The rest of the time, they're trying to figure out what it would mean if it turned out they were in love.
About Last Night won't win points for originality — you've probably seen this sort of thing a million times (1,000,094 if you watched every episode of Sex and the City) — and it is more than a little odd to make a frank sex comedy in which every leading actor has a no-nudity clause. Even when they're in the act, the characters in About Last Night have sheets twisted so tightly and inventively around their mid-sections that it's as if some erotic origami expert was let loose on the bed linens.
But within those restrictions, the script is clever in its exploration of what's happening in the dating world now: the ignominy of having your phone call ignored instead of sent into voicemail, what to do about relationship statuses on Facebook, and the ever-popular decision of when to say those three little words.
I'm not saying About Last Night is in Jane Austen's league, but it does share her keen eye for the manners and morals of romance as it careens between randy and emotional, between sense and sensibility.