Starring Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Belushi, Elizabeth Perkins, George DiCenzo, Michael Alldredge, Robin Thomas, Donna Gibbons, Megan Mullally
Directed by Edward Zwick
About Last Night kicks immediately into its frank dialogue about sexual escapades and it can be a little jarring. Maybe it’s just me, but I expect a movie to wine and dine me a bit before we’re talking about fucking in air force flak jackets and setting the room on fire both figuratively and literally. But once you get accustomed to About Last Night‘s scandalous nature, it is a pretty entertaining relationship movie.
The film centers around two pairs of friends who meet at a company softball game. Demi Moore can’t stop looking at Rob Lowe, and vice versa, so they quickly strike up a relationship based on their mutual, intense attraction. Their friends don’t take it so well, though, and the film develops into something a little more complex than your average rom-com.
But to even call this a rom-com is wrong, as it’s more of a straight relationship drama. There’s definite comedy in there too, but the focus is more on portraying the realistic emotions and feelings of a budding relationship. Of course, that could just be my interpretation of it. Perhaps I was supposed to laugh at Belushi’s gruff, working man’s attitude, or his over-the-top descriptions of his wild sexual encounters. Instead I found him rather abrasive and annoying, but I always kind of feel that way about him, so that is what it is. I’m now convinced that this is pretty much exactly how Belushi is in real life, and if he’s not then he’s one hell of an actor. He plays the pompous asshole to perfection.
But to just call About Last Night a straight drama is also a bit wrong, and it ignores two major factors contributing to the production of this movie. First, it’s the ’80s, so that means montages. Being a martial arts fan, I’m partial to training montages, but I’m an equal opportunity montage fan so I’ll take “moving in” montages too. Putting up a new coat hook might not sound very exciting fare for a movie, but with Sheena Easton belting out an ’80s pop song on the soundtrack, you’ll be surprised just how fun it can be. Secondly, this is a Brat Pack movie so About Last Night is a lot trashier and entertainment minded than a true straight romantic drama, like say A Room With a View, would be.
Putting these elements together results in a film that’s a little spastic, trading quick and dirty in all sorts of tones, but as I mentioned before: once you get accustomed to it, it all works rather well. The film does an excellent job of portraying the odd days of first moving in with someone, and the slow on-set of reality that arrives after the hazy visions of dreamland subside. Even after knowing someone for a while, living with them is a completely different beast. Demi and Rob know each other for a scant few days before they decide to shack up (based purely on their sexual passion for one another), so it’s interesting to watch how their personalities ebb and flow in response to one another over the course of the movie.
Demi Moore has a line mid-way through the movie where she mentions how the whole living together thing just doesn’t feel like she thought it would. She mentions how it’s nothing like her parents, and how it instead feels like “a couple of kids playing house.” I found this line especially touching, as earlier in the film when they were amidst the moving in montage, I found myself thinking back to the early days of living with my girlfriend. We’ve been together for about eight years, and I remember having the same feeling as Demi Moore when I first moved in. Like two kids playing house. This makes me wonder if many other people also feel this way, unsure of how to proceed or compromise themselves because the reality is something decidedly different than the fantasy.
About Last Night also gets quite hot and heavy in an extended love scene between Demi Moore and Rob Lowe. We’ve all seen our share of love scenes in movies, and most of them are pretty ho-hum. About Last Night is not one of these movies, though, as the love scenes are intensely passionate and incredibly sensual. I especially liked the short scene of our lovebirds in the bathtub, as their dialogue made it seem like we are sinful voyeurs, stealing a glance into the real lives of our young leads. It’s a great scene, but in terms of sheer passion it is trumped handily by the later scene that basically defines the term “hot and heavy.”
If you’re looking for a good date night movie and you both like ’80s movies, then About Last Night is a good one. It might be too vulgar for some, as the Belushi character is the ultimate chauvinistic asshole and all the characters throw out frank, profanity-laden dialogue regularly (it is based on a Mamet play, after all), but most people will find something to like here. And for those that care, the film is being remade with a mostly black cast, including Kevin Hart in the Belushi role. I think Kevin Hart could really tear that shit up, and I think I’ll like the character more with Hart in there. Definitely one to watch for, romance fans.