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Monday, October 20, 2014

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Susan Granger's review of 'About Last Night'

Published 10:39 am, Saturday, March 29, 2014
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The idea of the one-night stand that turns into long-term love has been done again and again, perhaps never better than Edward Zwick's 1986 hit, starring Demi Moore and Rob Lowe, which was based on David Mamet's 1974 play, "Sexual Perversity in Chicago." But who can blame Sony for trying to repeat that success with contemporary African-American singles?

Bernie (Kevin Hart) and Danny (Michael Ealy) work at a restaurant supply company in downtown Los Angeles.

One evening in a bar, Bernie and his date Joan (Regina Hall) talk insecure Danny into hooking up with her roommate Debbie (Joy Bryant), a strait-laced executive.

Having been hurt in the past, both Danny and Debbie are wary of commitment, yet they wind up in bed. Soon, they're sharing a communal bath and moving in together. But when Danny decides to change careers and go to work at an Irish pub owned by his late father's best friend (Christopher McDonald), their relationship is seriously challenged.

Screenwriter Leslye Headland ("Bachelorette"), working off Tim Kazurinsky and Denise DeClue's original script, and director Steve Pink ("Hot Tub Time Machine") offer little that's new and different, ditching all subtlety and reducing the structured calendar concept to a cliched sitcom. As a result, while the pace is fast, it lacks flow.

For example, there's that scene where Danny barges in on Joan and Bernie while they're having kooky sex. Wearing a chicken costume, she's clucking like she's laying an egg. The direction is so obvious that one expects a canned laugh track to be inserted at any moment. Then there's all that squabbling -- and who needs a montage of texting selfies?

Hall and Hart, who must be the busiest actor in Hollywood with "Grudge Match," "Ride Along" and this already under his belt in 2014, delineate such playfully bantering, outrageously vulgar supporting characters that they're far more interest-ing than the story's pivotal couple.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "About

Last Night" is a broader, more serviceable 6, transitioning from risque to raunchy.