Sep. 15, 2010

filmsgraded.com:
About Last Night... (1986)
Grade: 50/100

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, James Belushi

What it's about. Rob Lowe and James Belushi both work as salesmen in a Chicago business that sells restaurant supplies. They're best friends, with Belushi as the dumpy and somewhat older guy who lies about his sexual exploits and annoys everyone within earshot. Except Lowe, who is at his side in half of the scenes.

He spends other half of the movie with husky-voiced Demi Moore, a gorgeous art designer or something who is in a meaningless and possibly opportunistic relationship with his boss, Robin Thomas. Lowe is younger and cuter, and "deep" in a pouty sort of way, so Moore ditches Thomas, as well as her moderately embittered roomie Elizabeth Perkins, to play house with Lowe. After shagging for a few scenes, they quarrel over household chores, and suspect each other of infidelity. A breakup follows, which is supposed to make the viewer feel sad, since the couple clearly belongs together.

But since the movie still has another 20 minutes to run, we suspect that somehow, a happy ending will be pasted together. And it is.

How others will see it. About Last Night... was considered, at the time, a more grown-up follow-up to a previous movie starring Brat Pack members, St. Elmo's Fire. It is indeed more mature, as it is based on a David Mamet play that had the unmarketable title of "Sexual Perversion in Chicago."

Any perversion that play may have had is absent here, although some may be shocked when Elizabeth Perkins, who is making her feature debut, gives jaded and age-inappropriate answers to childrens' questions about sex. Well, they might as well learn the truth while they're young enough to benefit from it.

We do get to see Demi Moore naked in two different scenes. This, combined with an MTV generation sense of nostalgia, may explain the appeal of the movie. It was released to ho-hum reviews, and has generally indifferent user ratings at imdb.com.

However, about one-quarter of viewers give the film an 8 (out of 10) or better, so the film does have its share of proponents. Those are presumably the same viewers who think that Belushi is hilarious, instead of merely obnoxious.

How I felt about it. Some may see this movie as an emblem of the pre-AIDS scare 1980s. Some may even confuse its explicit dialogue as a realistic examination of a relationship. Realistic, that is, if the guy and girl are both perfect 10s, if their sex invariably involves a simultaneous orgasm, if the guy's best friend is a preposterous jerk, and if the girl's best friend is a man-hater who wants her hottie roomie back.

Other than that, it's entirely accurate, down to the increasingly petty and bitter arguments that end with someone moving out. And they both mope for months afterward, because it's a movie, and they really do belong together. After all, how can either find somebody else who is more physically attractive?

My review for this movie is admittedly negative. But I have saved my biggest complaint for last. The plot has Rob Lowe, who clearly is not wealthy, quitting his day job to purchase and renovate a failed diner. They left out the scene in which he has to declare bankruptcy after his business venture flops.

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