Released in 1986, the acclaimed romantic comedy “About Last Night” resonated with audiences over its unflinching look at the ins and outs of dating, from the hot meet to the day after to the ever after. Based on the David Mamet play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” the film followed the lives of four singles, originally played by Demi Moore, Rob Lowe, James Belushi and Elizabeth Perkins. The film was a playful illustration of how easily true love can get sidelined by misguided ideas, bad advice and social pressures.
Now, Screen Gems updates the original movie’s timeless themes for a modern audience hungry for a fun, relatable romantic comedy that reflects their own experiences, with the 2014 reboot of “About Last Night.” The updated version stars Kevin Hart (“Grudge Match”), Michael Ealy (“Almost Human”), Regina Hall (“The Best Man Holiday”), Joy Bryant (“Parenthood”), Christopher McDonald (“Billy Madison”) and Paula Patton (“2 Guns”).
Producer Will Packer appreciated the new “About Last Night’s” date night appeal, big laughs, and nuanced look into the dynamics of relationships and the gradual (or quick) transition from fireworks to flat-lines.
“My first impression was wow, we are going to have some fun with this,” recalls Packer. “There were a lot of places to go because this is a film with a lot of different levels and depth. Beginning with the initial courtship and feeling each other out, the story delves into what are the preconceived notions, the misperceptions, the flaws in communication styles, which all explore well beyond the surface.”
Taking many cues from the original, the new film takes an unflinching look into how the technology of today can influence relationships. “We take a look at dating in the contemporary modern society with all the trappings of technology, economic climate and social mores that exist today,” explains Packer. “It’s really interesting to experience the world of dating through the prism of these four singles who are living, loving, laughing and playing in today’s downtown Los Angeles.”
What also appealed to Packer was the script’s balance between hot romance, meaningful drama, and full-on comedy. Each of the four singles was written as a fully fleshed-out character, and together they’re a group who live out loud and don’t shy from their vulnerabilities or mistakes. Life can be exciting, awkward, and downright hilarious at times -- what appealed to Packer was the perfect mix represented in the story.
“There are some surprises in the character portrayals in this version that veer differently from the original and I loved the fact that there are sequences that feel like an out and out comedy,” says Packer. “We have moments that feel like these actors are on the loose with finding the comedy of the ridiculous moments, but in addition, there is true heart. There are a lot of touching moments that really allow it to ebb and flow at just the right pace to find a healthy balance between the two.”
Central to the relationships in “About Last Night” is the sense that they happen against a backdrop of a thriving city, teeming with busy, purposeful lives. That’s why the filmmakers chose the newly revitalized downtown Los Angeles – a nexus of business, modern living, entertainment, sports, and food -- as the movie’s setting. From the neighborhood vibe of Casey’s Irish Pub to the classy nightclub feel of Broadway Bar, and iconic locations such as Dodger Stadium, Disney Hall and the Orpheum Theater, Los Angeles is for once allowed to be itself on screen instead of pretending to be another city.
“One of the really, really cool things about this film is the fact that downtown LA is a character,” says Packer. “We wanted to show Los Angeles with its own energy, its own vibe. We wanted people to see what the revitalization of downtown looks like, and show these single thirtysomethings living and working and playing in a downtown metropolitan urban area.”
Opening soon across the Philippines, “About Last Night” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International.