Love (and drama) bloom from separate one-night stands when friends Bernie and Danny meet ladies who might change their lives for longer than a single evening…[Review contains spoilers for those unfamiliar with the source material. And by “source material,” I mean the oeuvre of Rob Lowe.]
I wish there was a way here at MovieBoozer to separately rate two plots within the same film. The quality between Bernie Jackson (Kevin Hart) and Joan Derrickson’s (Regina Hall) hookup versus pal Danny Martin (Michael Ealy) and Debbie Sullivan’s (Joy Bryant) dour relationship is vast. If I were to have my way, Bernie and Joan would get the toast and I’d serve Danny and Debbie at least four beers – each. Alas! I must choose – so a compromise it is.
The film is based on David Mamet’s 1974 play Sexual Perversity in Chicago. The heavily decorated writer (Pulitzer Prize winner, Tony and Oscar nominee) was said to be so upset with original 1986 version of the film (starring Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Elizabeth Perkins, and Jim Belushi) that he wished to distance himself from the project entirely. Not that one could blame him. I’d hate my work if it had Jim Belushi in it too. He might feel a little warmer towards the current reimaging, given that Bernie and Joan are actually (and joyfully) perverse. (Clucking and fucking, anyone? Yes, that’s when you have intercourse while wearing a rubber chicken mask. If you have to ask…) However, he’s most likely anxious for the latest box office roar to die down so he can get back to kickin’ ass. Kickin’ ass, by the way, is fancy speak for writing really, really good stuff.
I will rock, paper, scissor you for Rob Lowe – the loser gets Demi Moore.
Kevin Hart continues his big screen dominance, and rightfully so. He and the vibrant Regina Hall make this a film worth watching. Their relationship follows the same arc as Danny and Debbie’s (lust, love, epic fights, a hateful split, reconciliation) but with a verve that is contagious. Yes, they are silly and over the top – but they also have moments of introspection, as well as a sparkle that leaves the audience wanting more. They put the com in rom com.
This looks like a dream I had!
And the comedy part is what I was looking forward to, so it was kind of a bummer to have Bernie and Joan weighed down by their pals, Danny and Debbie. Not that Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant were bad – it was just harder to connect with their more serious storyline, plus their chemistry was pretty blah. Their portion of the movie is being heralded as an honest portrayal of adult relationships – but that’s exactly the problem. Adult relationships are boring. That is why we go to the cinema – to be entertained by something out of the norm of our daily lives. If I wanted to see the mundane, I’d stay home. Not to say that my marriage is boring – far from it. We’re in love – we enjoy each other’s company and we treat one another with respect. But no one is banging down our door to make a film about it. (If you’d like to see a truly layered and lovely take on adult romance, check out Enough Said.) Ultimately I didn’t care why Danny and Debbie broke up and I was bored by the time they got back together. The plus side? Kevin Hart gets to shine all the more as a long overdue A-lister on a meteoric rise. Here’s hoping he takes the worthy Regina Hall with him.
Listen, I am not taking off my top until we find a way to be more interesting.
Danny and Debbie’s storyline wanted to make me stab myself in the thigh – but thanks to Bernie and Joan, my flesh remained free from punctures. It’s ultimately harmless, albeit forgettable, fun.
Take a Drink: every time there’s a raunchy sex scene.
Take a Drink: every time Danny pouts.
Take a Drink: every time the characters drink their weight in booze. These peeps know how to party!
Do a Shot: for the blink and you’ll miss it cameo by 2006 Top Chef winner Michael Voltaggio.
Do a Shot: for Portland hometown heroes, Pink Martini. Their song, “Amado Mio” plays during a pivotal scene. Want more Portland? Come to our next live MovieBoozer event Wednesday, March 12th! Click here for details.
Nope – no extra scenes. If you’re feeling a hankering for more, you’ll have to seek out the original.