Title: About Last Night
Genre: Romantic Comedy (R!)
Watched: March 27, 2011
Summary: Holds up brilliantly.
I’ve always loved this movie. Perhaps I’m a romantic at heart. Perhaps it’s the David Mamet dialogue, or maybe Demi’s just hot. I’ve probably seen it 5-6 times, but not in the last 20 years. Although I still have the laserdisk somewhere. In any case, it’s out on blu-ray now, so being on my 80s kick I figured I’d see how it held up.
The crisp blu-ray transfer helped, taking out the sometimes distracting poor color and funny old film grain legacy of old videotape transfers. But I got to remember what I liked so much about the film. And not just Demi’s nipples. First of all, there is the fact that this is an R-rated romantic comedy. How many others even exist? It’s sexy, the dialogue is raunchy and funny. Brilliant in fact. Particularly as delivered by James Belushi‘s over the top performance as the sexist best friend, or Elizabeth Perkins going toe to toe in bitchy counterpoint (made all the more amusing by having seen her in Weeds).
The most important thing about this film is the pitch perfect ebb and flow of the relationship between the two leads. It’s not the relationship everyone might have had, but it’s an accurate one. They feel like solidly real people. So in some ways, fairly unique among Romantic Comedies, there is truth here. Not every truth, but a specific one nonetheless. The film also has the audacity to cover nearly a year, and do it well, giving the rise and fall and then maybe rise again of this couple some actual weight and believability. You feel like they’ve changed and there’s been passage of time. Far too many films in the genre feel like about three dates, where the writers, not the characters, are building the relationship.
I loved the 80s outfits too. The Reboks, the sweaters and baggy shirts tied with belts, the high hip jeans. Sure they look silly, but… It’s also interesting to note the subtle culture changes that 25 years have wrought. The guy characters are allowed to be guys (and sexist) in ways that would be avoided today. I don’t really think men have changed, but Hollywood has.