About Last Night is even worse than the other About Last Night

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Starring Kevin Hart and Michael Ealy. Rated 14A. Now playing 

First came David Mamet’s caustic 1974 play, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, about two couples doomed by their inability to talk about their feelings without air quotes. Then came the soft-focus Rob Lowe-Demi Moore adaptation, About Last Night…, which took a lot of heat for tacking on longing looks and a happy ending in 1986.

Now there’s the utterly forgettable urban remake, which removes the ellipsis and every other mystery from the previous versions. Here, the guys don’t trip over themselves trying to pick up the girls at a bar. Bernie (Kevin Hart) is already on a lusty second date with Joan (Regina Hall) and they’ve dragged along Danny (Michael Ealy) and Debbie (Joy Bryant) as wingmen. That sets up the first couple as sex-mad attention whores and the second as wet blankets, and unfortunately that’s how we see them for the rest of the film.

Ealy’s a sexy, soulful presence, but he can’t convince us he has chemistry with Bryant (Crosby’s wet blanket wife on Parenthood), an actress whose eyes betray nothing beyond what salad she might be considering for lunch. She’s such a dead weight that their courtship, cohabitation, break-up, and reunion feel like boxes Ealy is working hard to check off so he can fade out of this mess.

Hart and Hall have more fun with their roles. They’re playing screeching caricatures, but at least their sex scenes give them a chance to show off some nuttily perfect comic timing.

Anyone hoping for a cameo from the original cast can save their money. Danny and Debbie watch a scene from 1986’s About Last Night… on television and Danny keeps saying “about last night”, which tells you how much creativity director Steve Pink put into this. The only surprise is that he also directed Hot Tub Time Machine. Maybe he’s saving his energy for that film’s Christmas sequel.

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