By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3 (Out of 4 Stars)
With Valentine’s Day falling on a Friday, the movie studios have a handful of romantic options for couples seeking entertainment at the cinema. This particular option offers the typical romantic-comedy story and plot, but definitely redeems itself with hysterical irreverent comedy, courtesy of fearless comic actors Kevin Hart and Regina Hall. Romantic leads Michael Ealy and Joy Bryant do share a lovely chemistry and have enough charisma to make the romance aspect work well enough to engage their audience. However, the real reason to consider this film above others this Valentine’s Day is the well written and performed relationship and sexual comedy that nearly had me in tears from laughing so hard.
Best friends Bernie (Hart) and Danny (Ealy) hook up with roommates Joan (Hall) and Debbie (Byant). As their sexually charged relationships begin to face the realities of long-term commitments, each couple reacts quite differently. While Bernie and Joan’s relationship crashes and burns in a fiery blaze, Danny and Debbie move in with each other. Still, the adjustment of cohabitation, other relationship pains, and real life difficulties begin to take their tolls on the couple’s love for one another. Having jaded best friends in their corners doesn’t exactly help, either.
Loosely based on the 1986 film starring Rob Lowe and Demi Moore, which is based on David Mamet’s play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, screenwriter Leslye Headland and director Steve Pink make some much needed changes to the previous film adaptation and adds to the comedic aspect of the story. The pairing of the Bernie and Joan characters, which is absent from the previous movie and play, gives the film another level of depth, offering the audience a look at a different kind of relationship, and one that is probably more typical in real life than not. This new and exciting element provides an entertaining flip-side to the typical romance material that plays out between the Debbie and Danny characters.
Debbie and Danny’s story treads familiar territory. This is where the writing takes a lackluster turn. The material follows the typical path and offers little surprises. In fact whenever the Bernie and Joan characters do take over, it truly comes as a relief. I found their story much more exciting and entertaining. I do suppose that both stories need each other to counterbalance the tones. Too much Debbie and Danny would be dull, and too much Bernie and Joan would be exhausting and probably frustrating.
I do have to applaud Kevin Hart and Regina Hall for their excellent comic timing, improvisational skills, and their wild chemistry. These two comic actors work so well together that their relationship feels very real. I am so thrilled that Headland and Pink decided to expand on their characters in this version of the film. They are the main reason to watch this movie.
Because it is opening on Valentine’s Day and couples often look to the cinema on this date night, I will recommend this film as fine choice. Though it probably isn’t the most romantic film available, it certainly provides a great source of laughter. Even the most serious relationships need comic relief sometimes.