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About Last Night (Blu-ray) - Review

About Last Night

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES: Original Making-Of Featurette; Ed Zwick and Rob Lowe in Conversation.

IT’S hard to believe but About Last Night was mired in controversy when it was first released theatrically in 1986.

Based on David Mamet’s play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, the film couldn’t use the name because of the words “sexual perversity” and was notorious for its explicit use of sexual language throughout.

Both revelations are made during a conversation between director Ed Zwick and star Rob Lowe that forms part of an entertaining Blu-ray special feature… along with a wonderful anecdote about a screen test involving David (CSI Miami) Caruso for the role of Bernie.

The film itself now looks tame by comparison to some of the more risque R-rated comedies but it’s still a fun nostalgia trip that stands the test of time in its depiction of young love and promiscuity.

After meeting at a favourite Chicago hangout, Danny Martin (Lowe) and Debbie Sullivan (Demi Moore) head to Danny’s place to indulge in a one-night stand.

But they subsequently begin an intense relationship that irritates Danny’s rowdy best friend Bernie (James Belushi) and astounds Debbie’s cynical buddy/roomie Joan (Elizabeth Perkins), who do everything possible to break them up.

Though less cynical than Mamet’s source material, Zwick’s film is still a warts-and-all depiction of young love that resonates beyond its ’80s setting. So, while the fashions look dated and the soundtrack is as cheesy as hell, there’s much to be reflected upon in the obvious rites-of-passage moments, such as the difficulty of first moving in together and giving up the freedoms of singledom.

Lowe and Moore make a believably flawed couple, whose future happiness isn’t guaranteed by any measure, while there’s strong support from Perkins (supremely convincing as the bitch of the piece) and Belushi (whose outrageous portrayal of Bernie steals the film from under everyone).

Zwick, for his part, maintains a nice sexual energy that seldom feels exploitative or voyeuristic, and brings out the best in the raunchy dialogue – especially in the bravado moments between Lowe and Belushi that remain quotable even today (“was she a pro?”; “at this point, we don’t know!”).

It’s a sexy, laughter-fuelled nostalgia trip that boasts characters you’ll want to hang out with time and time again. And it’s worth owning the Blu-ray release for the way in which the picture has been cleaned up… and that conversation between Lowe and Zwick.

Certificate: 18
Running time: 113mins
UK Blu-ray Release: August 3, 2009