Rough Night

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Paul W Downs, Ty Burrell, Demi Moore, Colton Haynes, Dean Winters, Eric Andre, Bo Burnham, Hasan Minaj
Directed By: Lucia Aniello

Plot: Jess (Johansson) is getting married to Peter (Downs), and is also trying to run for a city council position. She’s looking forward to her bachelorette weekend, which is being planned by her overbearing best friend (Bell), and will reunite them with their other close college friends (Kravitz/Glazer), as well as Jess’s Australian friend Pippa (McKinnon). Everything seems to be going as planned until the stripper arrives, and they accidentally kill him. What follows next is a hilarious series of missteps proving that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

What Works: I liked this movie a lot. I thought it was really funny, with most of the jokes landing for me. Johansson plays the straight character, which allows Bell and McKinnon to truly shine in their more quirky roles. Bell is probably more over the top than McKinnon, whose character is actually grounded a bit more here than she was in Ghostbusters. Each character is well written and fully realized in their performance by the actresses. There’s a deep sisterly bond here that pulls the film together, and makes you believe that these characters really are best friends, and really do care about each other, which is often hard to do in an ensemble of five women. Also, there’s a side plot with Downs’ character that gets more and more hilarious as it progresses. Burrell and Moore were good as the swinger neighbors looking for a little action. I had been looking forward to Rough Night when I found out it was from the writers of Broad City, and I wasn’t disappointed.

What Doesn’t Work: I can’t give this film props for originality. It feels like an amalgamation of several different films thrown into a blender, that just happened to come out delicious. It owes a lot of its success in humor to films like Weekend At Bernies and Very Bad Things, but also films like The Hangover and Bridesmaids. I guess maybe that was a turn off to audiences who felt the film had too much of that “been there done that” vibe, but sometimes a film can still be familiar and still work. But, yeah, it loses a few points for originality. There are a few other minor things, all of them kinda spoilery, that didn’t work for me. There’s kind of a twist in the film I saw coming because it was poorly set up, but it didn’t really ruin my overall enjoyment of the film, or any of the jokes.

Final Word: Don’t listen to all the Chicken Littles of the world. The sky is not falling. This is a good film that will make you laugh. I don’t know why its getting such a cold reception at the box office. Yes, it’s a female led cast, but unless you just despise women, you should still love this film.

Final Grade: A-

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