About Last Night: Is the 2014 Movie Based on Real Life?

‘About Last Night’ is a romantic comedy film that revolves around Danny and his spontaneous relationship with Debbie, whom he meets on a double date set up by his friend and co-worker, Bernie. Though reluctant at first to meet somebody new, as he is still pining after his ex-girlfriend, Danny gives the date a shot and soon sparks start flying between him and Debbie. After spending several months together, the two of them move in together; but the sparks start fizzling out soon afterward.

Will Danny and Debbie be able to keep their relationship on track? Or is it the end for them? Directed by Steve Pink, the 2014 film features the talents of Michael Ealy, Regina Hall, Kevin Hart, and Joy Bryant. The film’s perspective on the modern-day dating culture wrapped up in a comedic storyline would be most people’s cup of tea. But is there any truth behind the story? Read on and find out!

About Last Night is Not a True Story

‘About Last Night’ is not a true story. The screenplay, written by Leslye Headland, is based on the 1986 film ‘About Last Night…’ sans the ellipses. And both are based on a play by David Mamet in 1974, titled ‘Sexual Perversity in Chicago.’ There are some marked differences between the original 1986 production – starring Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Belushi, and Elizabeth Perkins – and its 2014 remake, but both follow much of the same storyline.

The most prominent of these differences would be that the remake features a predominantly African-American cast, while at the same time, none of the character names have been changed, or even what jobs they have in the original film. Speaking about the casting choice and how it sets the tone for the overall story, Kevin Hart told Collider, “I feel that what we’re doing is making it a little bit more modern, by incorporating black people. I don’t think it’s just about us being black, it’s just a different take on the relationship feel.”

The actor-comedian added, “Our rants are a little different than a white rant. Our way of arguing is different from a Caucasian couple’s fights. It’s a little more violent. It gets a little more vulgar. Things are said that you don’t expect to be said.” To be in line with this 21st-century setting, the story’s location has also been shifted from Chicago to downtown Los Angeles. Though the film is a romance, it’s also about the changing dynamic and bond between friends.

Both Bernie and Joan, for example, aren’t at all happy about Danny and Debbie getting into a serious relationship with each other because that would mean less time spent as friends.  They openly try and dissuade their respective best friends from moving forward with the romance but to no avail. While this may seem selfish, it also comes from a place of love – both Bernie and Joan have been burnt by past relationships so much that they no longer believe anything long-term is possible, and from their point-of-view, are simply protecting their friends from experiencing the same thing.

This singular fact makes ‘About Last Night’ that much more relatable to the audience because in real life it is true in quite a few cases that people get swept up in the euphoria of a new romantic relationship that they start to neglect all others. So the story not only explores romantic relationships but platonic ones as well. “Ultimately, what their relationships are about determines how and why they love each other. It’s very simple and grounded, in that way. The trick there is to keep moving. Mamet’s original play, and the original writers of the first film, knew that,” said Steve Pink, the film’s director.

A character-focused story, ‘About Last Night’ benefits from its stellar casting, with Kevin Hart and Regina Hall’s dynamic with each other truly shining out on the screen. The film’s normalization of sex, amongst both men and women and their discussion of it in the comfort and privacy of their friends is refreshing as well. Despite being a fictional story, there are probably not a lot of people out there who can say with certainty that they cannot relate to even a single aspect of ‘About Last Night.’

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