Director: Lucia Aniello
Run Time: 1h 41m
Let’s be honest. The world did not need another girls-night-gone-wrong caper. But I’ll be damned if I didn’t laugh my way through Rough Night.
This college clique is all grown up. Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is getting married and all her best b*tches are taking her to Miami for a weekend she’ll never forget. While Jess aspires for a political position, BFF Alice (Jillian Bell) is a stay-at-home mom. Ex-lovers Blair (Zoë Kravitz) and Frankie (Ilana Glazer) couldn’t have gone down more different paths. And no one is exactly sure why Jess invited her Aussie friend Pippa (Kate McKinnon), but she rounds out the bridal bunch with a comic smash. The girls decide to get Jess a stripper, but when their leading man arrives he ends up a lot more dead than he arrived. What was supposed to be a night to remember turns into a night they wish they could all forget as they try to hide a dead stripper while working out some buried issues of their own. What’s more stressful than girls trying to reconnect in Miami? Girls trying to reconnect after committing manslaughter.
It’s true. The premise of Rough Night is a recycled one. Granted not every girls’ night involves a death but the general idea is the same. However, I did appreciate that even with a dead body present there were still plenty of laughs to be found. Does that make me a bad person? Absolutely. And I’m not sorry.
First, in keeping with the whole female empowerment movement we have ourselves a role reversal. While the women are out having a wild night of booze, crack, and death…the men are at home having a sophisticated wine tasting. Jess’s fiancé Peter (Paul W. Downs) does not wear the pants here. His life, dreams, and carnal desire all take a backseat to Jess’s campaign. This time it’s the bride who is too busy to pay attention to her groom. Ironically I think this worked better because of the fact that it was overdone. With the quick cuts from the girls snorting a line in the bathroom to the guys delicately sniffing a pinot in the den we are made well aware that the girls just wanna have fun.
Rough Night knows that it’s ridiculous and that’s why I was allowed to enjoy it for what it is. The story, the characters, and the jokes are all so over-the-top that I didn’t mind. Because it never tried to be anything other than a goofy mess, I could appreciate it as such.
It was nice to see ScarJo take a break from throwing punches to nailing punchlines instead. Given her crappy action spree of late it was nice to laugh with her instead of cringe for her. She needed this. We all know Kate McKinnon is the queen of comedy at the moment so she was delightfully the same. I think Jillian Bell is a close second as far as the jokes were concerned. Perhaps the saddest part was the fact that Kravitz and Glazer felt more like filler characters than equal players. They were constantly setting up the shot for one of the other ladies to alley oop the real moment. It was incredibly disappointing to watch them take a backseat.
That is except for Kravitz’s interaction with Demi Moore and Ty Burrell. The two legends made cameos as the girls’ neighbors for the weekend and they are…sexually uninhibited to say the least. They immediately take a liking to Kravtiz’s character and it [sadly] becomes crucial to the plot later on. But there again, Kravitz is used as a stepping stone for a bigger laugh.
Another qualm is the fact that this flick is entirely predictable. You can guess the outcome almost immediately because there are no barriers being broken outside of gender swapping. However, I will say what Rough Night lacks in originality it makes up for in jokes. I promise you will laugh watching these ladies navigate through their sticky situation.
Rough Night is definitely a contender for a ladies’ day/night out. I do suggest an earlier showing before grabbing a late lunch to make the most of your money though.