Rough Night Theatrical Review
In terms of a female-centered comedy, Rough Night gives it a good shot but just falls a little short. It has a great cast, but a lackluster script.
Jess (Scarlett Johansson; The Avengers) is getting married, and running for political office at the same time. Her college roommate and best friend, Alice (Jillian Bell; Fist Fight) has planned a wild weekend in Miami for them and their other college friends, Blair (Zoe Kravitz; Divergent) and Frankie (Ilana Glazer; Broad City) come along to celebrate as well. Rounding out the group is Jess's friend from when she was an exchange student in Australia, Pippa (Kate McKinnon; Office Christmas Party).
The night starts out innocent enough, if you include some heavy drinking and cocaine use innocent, but takes a dark turn when a male stripper is accidentally killed at the house they are renting. In an effort to cover up the "crime", they first move the body then try, more than once, to dispose of the body only to find out he wasn't really a stripper and there is more going on than they know.
Add into the mix Jess's fiancé's, Peter (Paul W. Downs; Broad City) fear that she is calling off the wedding, complete with a plan to win her back, and the nosy, swinging neighbors, played beautifully by Ty Burrell (Modern Family) and Demi Moore (Ghost), who want to seduce Blair. And of course, there is some friendship drama thrown in for good measure.
I can't say enough about the cast. For me, Johansson can be hit or miss but here she is well suited for the reformed party girl turned political candidate role. Bell's character is reminiscent of her drug-addicted guidance counselor from Fist Fight. She is a little awkward and hyper and ever so slightly neurotic. McKinnon is one of my favorite comedic females right now and she, once again, shows off her style. Kravitz and Glazer fill out the group nicely and together they are humorous and fun.
The plot and script are where things kind of don't work. The dead body aspect drags on too long and the movie reminds me of The Hangover meets Very Bad Things. Of course, without the dead guy, Pippa's song in the credits wouldn't make any sense (yes, sit through the credits until McKinnon is done singing). The film starts off well enough and you think "Ok this might be good" only to leave at the end feeling a little letdown. I wanted more laughs than I got and some jokes just really fell flat.
This is director Lucia Aniello's (Broad City) feature film debut and while she does a decent job her inexperience may be part of the issue. She didn't know where to cut some of the gags so they drag on a little too long losing momentum along the way.
In terms of a female-centered comedy, Rough Night gives it a good shot but just falls a little short. Certainly not the worst I've seen but sadly not nearly the best. Great cast, lackluster script.
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