I bought a DVD player from Target, and maybe I should have gone to Best Buy, because what I didn’t realize was that what I got wasn’t what I’d paid for. I opened the box and someone had done one of those product switches on me. This was a banged-up, working (surprisingly!) DVD player at any rate, so I kept it for now and plugged it in. When I opened the thing, there was already a DVD in there, titled About Last Night. Was this some kind of strange omen? “Watch the movie,” said Fate (or the used DVD player). So I did.

Here’s the IMDB summary:

A man and woman meet and try to have a romantic affair, despite their personal problems and the interference of their disapproving friends.

This was obviously a very short summary, which I found intriguing. Surely there must be more to this film than this simple observation. I sat down to watch. And when the DVD started playing, I noticed that this was not the movie I’d seen on IMDB, but a newer version/remake.

A drawback of this second-rate DVD player is that it has no Menu button, so I sat through a good number of previews, including one for Spider-Man 2, before the film actually began.

This movie stars Kevin Hart, who is hilarious, so I was instantly intrigued. I would describe this movie as wanting to be a romantic/sex comedy; however, it comes off as more of a sex drama. It’s not at all kid-friendly or a movie to watch with the family, as it starts into depictions of sex right away.

Our two movie relationships in the film are Danny-Debbie and Bernie-Joan. Bernie’s character is an immature man-child in many ways (unfortunate that the character has been written this way). But Hart comes off believably as a concerned friend. The juxtaposition of the work and social lives of these characters is interesting.

The conflict in this movie comes from the characters’ relationship trepidations and their own egos as they try to make things work.

This is at first a charming movie, touching on the universal theme of pride. Danny feels insecure about his job. Danny manages to let his guard down and be vulnerable, admitting that he hates his job, and he quits. Meanwhile, Debbie finds out that she’s pregnant. Though things are going well for this couple, life is moving really fast for them.

The slow-motion drinking montage of the guys mimics the initial hot tub scene from Hot Tub Time Machine. But I digress.

Meanwhile, Joan and Bernie show themselves to be a more prideful, volatile pair, as they fight about nearly everything, even though they’re not together.

Meanwhile, Danny’s ex-girlfriend Allison shows up at the bar that Danny works at, and Debbie’s co-worker hits on her. Thus temptation is introduced to both of them. Danny takes a drunk Allison back to his apartment. Allison tries to seduce Danny, and Danny swiftly sends her packing. However, Debbie, in a fit of rage and despair, wants nothing more to do with Danny, even though he did the right thing. Debbie has had the same thing just happen to her, but there is no further mention of it in the film, and temptation is introduced to her in a much milder way.

Nevertheless, Bernie is able to eventually be vulnerable, and it strengthens the relationship between him and Joan, so much so that they become the most stable pair at the end of the film. Danny and Debbie break up and not even naked vulnerability can save him from the dragon-like fumes of Debbie’s rage. Debbie is supposed to be the “strong woman” of the film, who doesn’t need a man. During the breakup, Danny mopes, calls Debbie while he’s in a dirty bathroom, and bares his soul. She hangs up on him.

The next scene is titled “About Spring” and attempts to wrap things up plot-wise, as well as turn things around.

Now, despite the fact that she is our main character, Debbie has few redeeming qualities. She is stable work-wise, but selfish and callous. She does not come off as sincere or able to allow herself to step off her pride pedestal and be vulnerable in the least. I felt sorry for Danny, having his heart continually broken by her, and in so many ways. During the breakup, Debbie becomes bitter and jaded, while Danny actually focuses on self- and community improvement. He mans up, making the bar he works at into a successful business.

After being a total bitch to him in so many ways, Debbie puts the nice mask on as she confronts Danny, the John Legend music plays, and your heart falls into your stomach in a bad way as you hope Danny has the good sense to leave Debbie in the dust. Instead, he apologizes to her, and it’s pathetic. She asks him out, acting like a schoolgirl, but with that psycho-light still in the back of her eyes. They walk off. The credits roll.

Is this what happens before she kills him and eats his still-beating heart, screaming, “I AM WOMAN!?” It sure could be. They could call this movie Destroy All Men and nothing would change. Do you see what I’m getting at here? Bernie is the only guy in the movie who ends up in a relationship, but it’s not a committed one—or a particularly stable one—just because it’s better than the Debbie-Danny relationship.

So why do I feel this way after having watched this movie? Probably because Debbie’s character does not undergo any major change, even though she is the main character of the movie. In movies like this, it works if there is some kind of character change taking place, but it doesn’t. There is no reason for the tragedy to turn into a comedy at this point, and to end (as comedies do, traditionally) with a pairing-off of couples.

Click here to watch About Last Night.