It appears Kevin Hart's time has finally arrived.
The 34-year-old comedian, who's been seen in movies and TV series for nearly a dozen years, charted his first co-starring role in a $100 million-grossing film with the January release "Ride Along."
That came the heels of his record-breaking comedy concert films "Laugh at My Pain" (2011) and "Let Me Explain" (2013), and a role in the ensemble 2012 hit "Think Like a Man." The sequel to that film is scheduled for a June release. But now, there's "About Last Night," a remake (in name mostly) of the 1986 Brat Pack dramedy based on David Mamet's play "Sexual Perversity in Chicago."
The new movie is set in downtown Los Angeles, and Hart assures us that it reinstates some of the perversity from the play, while adding more raunchy laughs.
"Of course, it's a remake of the original 'About Last Night,' " Hart says by phone from an airplane awaiting takeoff. "We took the mold from the original (film) but kind of followed more of the actual play. We just went edgier. We modernized it, made it something our generation can relate to a little more by referencing ... real aspects of relationships today ... the good side and the bad side. This is the much more adult version, I guess you could say."
Yes, you could definitely say that. In the movie, Hart re-teams with "Think Like a Man" co-star Regina Hall. Playing a couple named Bernie and Joan, they have a very active, imaginative sex life whose passion is exceeded only by their outrageous fights. Soon their respective best friends, Danny (Michael Ealy, another "Think" alum) and Debbie (Joy Bryant), meet, hit it off and struggle to establish a domestic bond.
Hart says the film "captures how men converse about their relationships to one another, and how women converse about (them). I guess you can say (it) is universal to the point where anybody and everybody can watch it. And it's a great conversation piece, because it touches on so many real aspects of today's relationships."
Like, um, the erotic potential of poultry costumes. Or Bernie showing up at a Halloween party as Channing Tatum from "Magic Mike."
Sheer verisimilitude, the actor says. "You know, me and Channing Tatum basically favor each other," says Hart, who is 5-foot-4 and well muscled. "We're close to each other in features as well as physical assets. I think that's probably the most amazing thing in the world, for him ... to be along the same lines as me, physically. Now I'm showing the world that that's true."
In the movie, Hart does a male stripper bit that was shot at a downtown L.A. bar. The film is one of the few productions actually shot in L.A. last year.
Those familiar with Hart's comedy act know that bragging doesn't come naturally to him. He builds his humor around jokes about his height and his other insecurities. He was pretty much raised by his strong-willed mother in Philadelphia, while his dad dealt with substance abuse issues. He later had a day job selling shoes while trying to make it in comedy clubs at night.
Hart's humility comes out when he discusses his success. "I definitely didn't do it by myself," he says of the buddy-cop phenomenon "Ride Along." "Ice Cube played a large part in it, and he's a great co-star. He's been around for a long time, and it takes two people to make a movie of this stature. He was great to work with, and the result was we got ourselves a great movie and possible franchise."
Well, actual franchise. Hart confirms that "Ride Along" sequels were written before the movie opened, and the first of them will be shot this summer.
In the meantime, there's the "Think Like a Man" follow-up and another movie, "The Wedding Ringer," plus a new season of his reality show satire "Real Husbands of Hollywood," guest spots and live appearances.