Could there be a phenomenon we might call the Rom-Com Uncanny Valley, where movie stars' gorgeousness fully outshines our ability to believe their characters' humdrum relationship problems? Radiant lovers make radiant love — and then argue about it — in Steve Pink's spirited, crowd-pleasing retake of About Last Night, often in a distinguished downtown L.A. loft boasting a couples bathtub so elegantly complex that I must have missed the scene where Danny (Michael Ealy), a sweet-tempered mensch in a sales job, becomes a billionaire. But audiences will buy it, and that Danny is unlucky in love despite his world-class abs and ocean-blue eyes. That goes double for Joy Bryant, who plays his bathmate. Here is peak human beauty possessed by an actress skilled enough that she just has to dimple up to convince us her character shares our problems. About Last Night holds to the what-are-we-doing-here relationship basics: Are we hooking up? Are we using a condom? Are we in love? And the film's refrain, "Are we fighting?" The arc is familiar, as are scraps of the film's wall-to-wall dialogue that date back to David Mamet's Sexual Perversity in Chicago, here given an update (to today), a transplant (to Los Angeles) and a broadening (to a Kevin Hart sex comedy.) It's also given a warming: The raw talk here is jolly rather than bracing, even Hart's jabbering on about "pussy," and there's never a doubt that these characters want, deep down, to fall in Happy Ending Love. This About Last Night revels in friendship, fidelity and something too rarely seen in the movies today: the idea that being young and black in Los Angeles can be glorious.
Steve PinkKevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant, Christopher McDonald, Paula PattonDavid Mamet, Leslye HeadlandWill Packer, Will GluckSony Pictures