‘Last Night’ update sticks to same rom-com schtick

First off, a point of trivia. How many movie remakes contain a scene in which the characters watch the original version of the movie they’re in?

Some research will be required. But this definitely happens in “About Last Night,” a new version of the 1986 romantic comedy.

That movie, starring Rob Lowe and Jim Belushi as buddies who talk about their sex lives and Demi Moore and Elizabeth Perkins as the women who alternately love and hate them, is given a racial update here.

This time the main cast members are black, and the action (adapted from David Mamet’s play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago”) moves from the Windy City to Los Angeles.

In part because the Belushi role is taken by red-hot comedian Kevin Hart (whose presence made “Ride Along” a smash hit last month), the supporting characters are given bigger roles in this version. Hart and Regina Hall get the bulk of the movie’s outrageous comedy; their on-again, off-again bouts of coupling are raucous (and probably partly improvised).

The nominal leads are Michael Ealy (“Think Like a Man”) and Joy Bryant (from TV’s “Parenthood”), both appealing actors who also know how to play comedy. We follow them over the course of a single year, from initial meeting through first tentative steps toward cohabitation and beyond.

All the while, Ealy gets Satan-on-his-shoulder advice from Hart’s determined bachelor. The advice is all negative, of course: Don’t move in together, don’t be the first to say “I love you,” don’t buy a dog (because a dog is really just practice for marriage and children).

The movie’s got plenty of contrivances, and the whole thing about the best buddy advising his pal not to settle down is overused in movies by a factor of 100 or so. And yet the film is generally pretty fun.

Director Steve Pink, who scored a hit with “Hot Tub Time Machine,” doesn’t pause for breath very long. Sometimes this is literal: There are simple, short dialogue scenes that appear to have been edited by a serious coffee addict, with dozens of unnecessary cuts.

But he gets the cast to stay lively throughout, especially Kevin Hart and Regina Hall. Don’t be surprised if the two of them graduate to another movie — their chemistry together is a true battle of comic equals.

“About Last Night” (two and a half stars)

An update of the 1986 romantic comedy, this time with black actors in the primary roles. The most laughs come from the raucous, battling duo of Kevin Hart and Regina Hall, who really deserve their own spin-off sequel; the leads are Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant. Plenty of contrived situations, but the movie’s generally fun.

Rated: R for nudity, language, subject matter.

Showing: Alderwood Mall, Marysville, Meridian, Oak Tree, Sundance, Woodinville, Cascade Mall.

More in Life

Snohomish native is band kid turned genre-bending jazz star

Aubrey Logan is coming back to the Triple Door in Seattle to share her jazz-meets-pop music.

Student photo contest winner captures a weary moment

“The Baker,” by Emily Sanger of Edmonds-Woodway High School, was shot at the Pike Place Market.

Longtime musician sees growth in Everett music scene

Karl Blau is one of more than 60 acts slated to perform at the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival.

‘Love, Simon’ updates ’90s teen movies with gay protagonist

Its pleasant nature makes it bland but enjoyable, in the tradition of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”

Egg hunts and more planned in Snohomish County

Eighteen events will take place this week and next.

Small artworks create big impression at Edmonds gallery

The show features 174 works by 69 artists, none larger than 2½ inches wide by 3½ inches tall.

‘Midnight Sun’: Weak leads, ridiculous story line doom sick-teen romance

There’s no spark whatsoever in this cheesy entry in a tiresome movie genre.

‘Paul, Apostle of Christ’ portrays the early Christian community at its most fragile

The movie benefits from strong performances and production values and a lack of proselytizing.

TV personality known for playing Bozo the Clown dies at 89

Frank Avruch played the clown character that was particularly popular in the U.S. in the 1960s.

Most Read