“ABOUT LAST NIGHT…” was a hit in 1986, an abrasive rom-com that had its contemporary urban mating rituals braced with raw dialog and laced with a little nudity and sex. The dating-relating demographic took it to heart/groin and 15th place at the boxoffice, in a year jammed with more than three dozen comedies. Costing $8,500,000, the first feature effort from director Edward Zwick (his next was Glory) grossed $51,600,000. The script by Tim Kazurinsky and Denise DeClue was adapted from David Mamet’s 1974 play “Sexual Perversity in Chicago”.
“This is Joan, my roommate. She specializes in unsolicited attacks.”
A raging hormone tide crests an alcohol flood as boisterous 20-somethings bang out their Boomer wants & needs in the endless recess playtime of the Windy City’s meat markets, jostling for heated hookups or—God forbid—validation of the L-word. In the sea of pop song soaked skepticism, float minnows ‘Danny’ (Rob Lowe) and ‘Debbie’ (Demi Moore), who try to forge something substantial out of mutual hots (tequila works wonders). Hard enough, but easier done if wing-man ‘Bernie’ (Jim Belushi) and witch-in-waiting ‘Joan’ (Elizabeth Perkins) didn’t persist in dumping cold water on their pre-heated friends, laying one-liner mine fields of pessimism and bitterness. We Who Have Been There, Salute You (hey, I had the same multi-colored shirt Rob sports).
Thought it was pretty dang funny and on-target back then: now it seems mostly Shallowsville, complete with sappy songs (not much of a selection) and two of the Brat Pack (Lowe and Moore had been part of the Pack’s lodestone St. Elmo’s Fire the year before). Depending on your inclinations, you can ogle or sneer at Moore, 23, and Lowe, 21, and decide who’s prettier, and why they remind you of someone that, if you see them now, 100 yards away, you’ll cross the street. Belushi (31, he played the role on stage) and Perkins (25 in her debut) take the acting and personality honors, though you’ll either appreciate or retreat from Belushi’s cheerful lout and Perkins hornet queen buzzkill.
113 minutes, with George DiCenzo, Robin Thomas, Megan Mullally, Joe Greco, Tim Kazurinsky, Rosanna de Soto, Catherine Keener (debut). Remade in 2014, the intervening 28 years of lowered expectations upping the raunch factor to favor ever-dimmer wits.