Sunday, February 23, 2014

This is a Remake?!: About Last Night

I saw this last Sunday with my mom, and I was pleasantly surprised with how good it was! Also, I didn't know it was a remake until after I saw it, and since I haven't seen the 1986 original, I won't be making any comparisons to it.

Seen Sunday February 16: About Last Night

Two new couples form when a pair of female friends get together with a pair of male friends. Their "relationships" (depending on how one defines the term) develop and change in a number of relatable and side-splitting ways.
"It's about compromise. It's about love. It's about a good wingman."


What I really like about this movie: A remake of a romantic comedy with all black leads? That's already winning in my book. Plus the writing is superb! The dialogue is clever, intelligent, and refreshing, with jokes and ideas that (unfortunately) are not things that you're used to hearing black characters say in movies. It's one of the most well-written "Black" films that I've seen. (And there are actually many well-written ones that have come out since the '90s, despite what those unfamiliar with the genre might think.) I read somewhere that a lot of non-black people don't watch "Black films" because they don't think they'd have anything in common with the culture being shown to them. To this I say, 1)How do you think we feel when watching 99% of mainstream Hollywood films? And 2)Though there might be certain language and cultural references you might not understand at first, these films are just expressing experiences that many black people have, as people, because.... get ready for it.... we're people just like anyone else. But I digress. My point is that in addition to being a quality piece of work with highly-skilled black actors (Kevin Hart, Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Joy Bryant), About Last Night is more than accessible and understandable for non-black audiences.

What I don't like about this movie:  While not unique from most films we see today, the trajectory of modern relationships that it offers is problematic for me.  It goes something like this: Meet. Have sex soon after without knowing each other long (or at all). Become casual sex buddies. Then actually go on a few dates. Then maybe be in a relationship, labels as needed (or not). Then move in together. Try to stick it out as time goes on and you both change. Marriage may or not be on the table. (Come to think of it, while commitment was cited as a potentially worthy goal for both couples, marriage wasn't exactly weighing on everyone's minds.) I understand the message the film is trying to send about letting your relationship develop as it will and not feeling pressured to conform to expectations and make your relationship look like that of other people's. But at the same time I think it demonstrates a loose, minimal risk, commitment-free model of modern relationships that may not be healthy or fulfilling for people in the long run. As a young Christian seeking to do the right thing, it was unnerving to see this model laid out before me yet again as if, "This is the way adults do things now, that's how society is, and there's nothing wrong with it. " I rant about this to say that, it would be nice to not have sex be the focal point of every relationship we see on screen.

Would I recommend it?: Absolutely!

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