FILMS: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

“ABOUT LAST NIGHT...”

Directed by Edward Zwick

Brian D. Johnson July 28 1986
FILMS: BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

“ABOUT LAST NIGHT...”

Directed by Edward Zwick

Brian D. Johnson July 28 1986

“ABOUT LAST NIGHT...”

Directed by Edward Zwick

For those who are tired of mindless youth movies about reckless teenagers, About Last Night provides some relief. Based on David Mamet's award-winning play Sexual Perversity in Chicago, it is a story of young love told with a bracing blend of naïveté and cynicism. Danny (Rob Lowe), who sells restaurant supplies, meets Debbie (Demi Moore), an art di rector, at a softball game. After what they assume will be just a one-night stand, they fall in love and move in together-against the advice of both Danny's best friend, Bernie (Jim Belu shi), and Debbie's roommate, Joan (Elizabeth Perkins). Joan becomes in creasingly distressed about losing Deb bie's friendship. And Bernie, an arch chauvinist, constantly berates Danny for making such tactical blunders as using the treacly "L word" (love), espe cially with "a broad."

Lowe’s ingenuous, soft-headed glamor suits his role remarkably well. He is the perfect foil for Moore, whose character is quietly in command of the relationship—intellectually, emotionally and sexually. When their passion drifts from banter to serious talk, the scenes start to fall apart. But Belushi’s militant humor rescues the film each time it veers toward sentimentality.

Those familiar with Mamet’s more pessimistic view of relationships may find About Last Night offensively glossy. The film-makers have performed radical surgery on the original drama, revising its sad ending. Some purists will see that as a classic case of Hollywood treachery. But the film works on its own terms, displaying more wit and emotional depth than a dozen original teen screenplays.

BRIAN D. JOHNSON