‘About Last Night’ characters deserve better story

Danny (Michael Ealy) and Debbie (Joy Bryant) seem like a perfect couple, but complications are on the horizon in “About Last Night.” (AP Photo/Sony Pictures, Matt Kennedy)

Danny (Michael Ealy) and Debbie (Joy Bryant) seem like a perfect couple, but complications are on the horizon in “About Last Night.” (AP Photo/Sony Pictures, Matt Kennedy)

By M. Scott Morris

Daily Journal

It took a while for “About Last Night” to pull me in. I had to adapt to the odd courtship between Bernie (Kevin Hart) and Joan (Regina Hall).

They’re a special pair, once I got used to their profane and selfish ways.

In fact, the evolution of their relationship is one of the best things going for “About Last Night.” It’s not so much that opposites attract as that hate and love aren’t as far apart as we’ve been led to believe.

But the main story is the connection between Danny (Michael Ealy) and Debbie (Joy Bryant). They’re likable from the start and it’s easy to pull for them, as they slowly fall for each other.

Love stories need complications, and Bernie and Joan are there to help. With every step Danny and Debbie take toward a settled life, Bernie and Joan are there to complain and criticize, often to humorous effect but sometimes just to keep the plot going.

Even without help, Danny and Debbie have hang-ups because they tell us they have hang-ups, though I never figured out what actually is getting in their way. When their pairing, which seems perfect, starts to waver, it doesn’t make much sense. But, again, love stories need complications.

The movie is appealing and it pulled me in, but it’s also predictable. Maybe that’s because I saw the 1986 version of “About Last Night” with Rob Lowe and Demi Moore. There’s a nice little homage to that flick in this one.

In fairness, it’s no big trick to figure out how a romantic comedy will play out. The trick is getting the viewer to care about how it plays out, and I definitely wanted to see these characters work out their problems and get together.

My main issue with “About Last Night” is I didn’t believe in those problems. They seem manufactured by the filmmakers, rather than outgrowths of the characters’ lives.

That’s a shame because Ealy and Bryant won me over, and eventually, so did Hart and Hall.

I give “About Last Night” a C plus.

It’s showing at Malcos in Tupelo, Oxford, Corinth and Columbus, as well as Hollywood Premier Cinemas in Starkville.

Look for movie reviews in Scene on Thursdays, and listen each Tuesday morning on Wizard 106.7 between 8:30 and 8:45 a.m.