Rob Lowe and Demi Moore certainly steamed it up well in 1986's, "About Last Night," a story about a pair of yuppies who sleep together on the first night and back into a committed relationship. But director Steve Pink's ("Hot Tub Time Machine," "High Fidelity") re-imagining of the ‘80s’ classic does more than the Brat-Pack version did; Pink's is a contemporary romantic comedy about four characters who are more mature and more compelling than the original foursome.
Although the movie stars four black actors, it never goes for stereotypical tropes. Starring Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Joy Bryant and Regina Hall, "About Last Night" is a universal story that explores the same relationship territory as the original in a deeper and funnier way. Edward Zwick’s ’80s version (adapted from David Mamet’s play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago”) may have broken ground with its nudity and sex scenes but Pink’s film, written by Leslye Headland (“Bachelorette”), is even more lewd. It's also incredibly funny.
Here are six other ways the new version is better:
Original: It opens with Bernie (James Belushi) telling his best friend Danny (Lowe) a long story about a sexual tryst he had the previous night. Danny interrupts Bernie often asking him for every torrid detail.
New: Bernie (Hart) is telling Danny (Ealy) about the wild sexual encounter he had with a woman they are both on their way to meet. As Bernie regales Danny with every detail, the movie cuts to Debbie (Bryant) and Joan (Hall) having the same conversation as they walk to a bar to meet the two men. Joan delivers her details with as much gusto, immediately making the story more modern, realistic, and believable.
Older, more developed characters
Original: Lowe’s Danny was easy to look at but, boy, was he whiny. Moore’s Debbie was insecure and a bit of a downer. Elizabeth Perkins’ Joan had some great one-liners but she was also one-note and bitter. Belushi’s Bernie was vulgar and widely hated.
New: These four characters are infinitely more likable than the ones in the original flick. By casting actors in their 30s, and placing the characters in life stages where they’ve had some successes and failures, the story is fuller and more interesting. Danny is as good-looking as he was in the first movie, but he’s recovering from a toxic relationship and on his way to doing more with his life. Debbie is a successful businesswoman who likes her life just so. Bernie is still a loud-mouthed salesman but he knows when he’s met his match. Joan is fiery and passionate and she knows what she wants.
Bernie and Joan
Original: Bernie and Joan met through Danny and Debbie, despised each other, and rooted for their best friends to stop dating. But the ending of the film leaves their hooking up a possibility.
New: It is Bernie and Joan who introduce Debbie and Danny. But make no mistake: this is Bernie and Joan’s movie. They steal every scene they’re in, and when they’re not around, you wish they were. From the start, they are a match made in both heaven and hell. Their wild sexual attraction is as intense and hilarious as their crazy fights. The overall story is so much better like this.
Downtown Los Angeles
Original: Like the play it derives from, the original movie is set in Chicago, makes great use of the Windy City, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
New: Downtown Los Angeles is seriously underrated as a neighborhood and this movie just might persuade you to visit. The characters hang out at Casey’s Irish Pub, spend New Year’s at the Broadway Bar, see the Dodgers play, visit Disney Hall. Even the landmark Orpheum Theatre is featured. The movie ends in the revitalized Grant Park area in front of the beautiful fountain.
Original: Danny and Debbie are too selfish to bring a cute puppy into their lives.
New: Danny buys Debbie a puppy she fell in love with, even though he didn’t feel ready for the move. When they split up, it just makes everything more heart-wrenching, especially for little Pacino.
Original: It’s a mostly chauvinistic tale in which the ladies let the men call all the shots and it’s Danny who suggests he and Debbie have dinner a few months after their break-up at the end of the film.
New: When it comes to Bernie and Joan, there’s no doubting Joan is in charge. At the end of the movie when Danny and Debbie run into each other in front of the Grand Park fountain, it’s Debbie who makes the first move.
"About Last Night" opens in theaters on Friday.