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The Independent Critic

Kevin Hart, Regina Hall, Paula Patton, Michael Ealy, Adam Rodriguez, Bryan Callen, Christopher McDonald, Joy Bryant, Joe Lo Truglio
Steve Pink
Leslye Headland (Screenplay) based upon David Mamet's play "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" and a screenplay by Tim Kazurinsky and Denise DeClue
Rated R
100 Mins.
Screen Gems

 "About Last Night" Tops a Weekend of Movie Remakes 
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If there's any justice in this weekend's box-office world, and there seldom is, then this Kevin Hart led remake of the 1986 film of the same name based upon David Mamet's brilliant stage play "Sexual Perversity in Chicago" will find itself atop the box-office when the box-office numbers are announced Sunday evening.

Admittedly, that may prove to be a tall order given the simultaneous opening of the action/sci-fi remake RoboCop even though this film is vastly superior in every single way beginning with what is no less than a brilliant performance by the nearly always funny Kevin Hart, a stand-up comic who can make unfunny material downright funny and who is having an absolute field day with Mamet's material that actually rises to the level of Hart's comic genius.

Hart is a stand-up comic and that gift, and having tried it myself I can assure you it's a gift, allows Hart to frequently rise above even the most mediocre of material with a wink, a stare, a gesture, and an almost psychotic gleam in his eye that makes you love him and laugh at him simultaneously. If you've ever watched Hart's stand-up comedy, you also happen to know the guy's not one of these "lowest common denominator" comics but actually has something to say and knows how to say it.

Hart meet Mamet. Mamet meet Hart.

It's a match made in heaven and just in time for Valentine's Day.

If you're looking for your best choice for a Valentine's Day date night at the movies, About Last Night is absolutely your best choice among the quartet of films opening this weekend including RoboCop, Endless Love, and Winter's Tale.

Hart takes over Jim Belushi's role of Bernie Litko here, and Hart takes the character on a journey from lucky working class stiff to a truly smooth operator with lots of motion in his ocean. Michael Ealy is Danny, Bernie's best friend previously played by Rob Lowe, whose primary mission, accomplished, is to be seriously good looking. Bernie is rather loosely involved with Joan (Regina Hall), a woman who is more than his match in just about every way possible. When the two drag Danny and Joan's roommate, Debbie (Joy Bryant), out for a night on the town sparks end up flying almost immediately between the two and About Last Night threatens to derail into a tale that isn't nearly as sexually perverse as it was when Mamet first wrote it in the 70's.

While Ealy and Bryant are fine, there's no question that About Last Night is at its best when attention is focused on the hilarious honesty and perversity of Bernie and Joan. Hart and Hall not only have a terrific chemistry, but their comic timing is a match made in heaven and a gleeful expression of love, honesty, perversity, and a whole lot more. It's a credit to Hart as an actor that amidst it all he doesn't lose the soul of Bernie, you can't help but feel excited that the actor has finally found a film worthy of his talent.

There's no denying that the original concept behind Mamet's play feels just a wee bit dated in a world where perversity is easily accessible at one's fingertips, but this is one remake that is easily superior to its predecessor and terrifically brought to life by director Steve Pink with an inspired and entertaining re-imagining that, unlike the two other remakes this weekend, makes it easy to understand why Hollywood came knocking once again.

If you really want to see something sexy, entertaining, funny and involving this Valentine's Day weekend, there's really no choice but About Last Night.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic