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February 13, 2014

Hart and Hall curl our hair with tales 'About Last Night'

Kevin Hart brings his “A” game to “About Last Night.” For those of us despairing that we’d ever see the little man at his antic best, after that lame second concert film and half-speed blockbuster “Ride Along,” that’s good news.

Paired up with Regina Hall, who gives as good as she gets, in the raunchy romantic African-American remake of the 1986 Rob Lowe and Demi Moore romance based on David Mamet’s play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago,” Hart knocks back drinks and blasts out one-liner observations about the opposite sex and relationships.

And Hall, as Joan to Hart’s Bernie, throws it right back at him and anybody else within range.

Their banter is so sharp and so well-timed that in many of their scenes, this ill-matched but perfectly suited couple are shouting funny stuff at the same time. And they’re so good they do what other versions of this once-cutting edge piece only flirted with. They overwhelm the romantic leads.

That would be the “serious” couple, played by Rob and Demi back in the day, here performed with a minimum of pathos and comic pop by Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant. Theirs is the relationship we track in this story, one so predictable and bland that the movie is waiting on Hart to show up again and Hall to march into the scene and take him down.

Danny (Ealy) meets Debbie (Bryant) in the middle of a drunken, out-of-control outing with Bernie and Joan. Over the months, as the louder couple feud, break up and drunkenly hook back up, Debbie and Danny get close, closer then domestic.

The boys and girls debrief each other in assorted L.A. bars (sexual perversity in Los Angeles, this time), where it’s always “About Last Night” — explicit, blow-by-blow accounts of seductions, pickups and the wrong moves each thinks the other is making. One commits, the other “knows when to get out.”

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