Rough Night (2017)
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Jillian Bell, and Ilana Glazer
Director: Lucia Aniello
By: Myri Nieves
Comedy is a hard genre to pull off and in a market dominated by men; it’s always refreshing to see a group of women come together to try and tickle the funny bone. Coming from films like National Lampoon’s Animal House, and The Hangover, we’ve been presented films of men behaving badly and the wacky consequences that come of it. Not many come to mind when people ask of comedies of the same nature but fronted by women, up until now. Enter Rough Night, a film about five ladies who reunite after three years of not seeing each other for a bachelorette weekend in Miami. This goes horribly wrong when one of them accidentally kills the stripper and mayhem ensues.
Scarlett Johansson plays Jess, an uptight politician trying to make real change in the world and is so obsessed with her job and fiancé that she barely has time for anything else. Enter Alice (Jillian Bell), her college best friend who has planned an entire bachelorette weekend for Jess, Blaire (Zoë Kravitz), Frankie (Ilana Glazer), and herself. Unbeknownst to Alice, Jess has invited Pippa (Kate McKinnon), a friend she met while on the Australian exchange program, which creates some friction as Alice feels threatened by Pippa in her friendship with Jess. As they reunite in Miami and start having the night of their lives, they retreat to their vacation home where a stripper comes in and Alice accidentally kills him when she jumps on him and he falls back. The girls all must confront not just the disaster in front of them but also repressed feelings about each other.
I’ve seen this comedy widely compared to something like The Hangover or even the second part of the previously mentioned. The thing about The Hangover is that it flows quite naturally within the chaos and the script is so richly hilarious that it helps the actors compliment an already humorous occurrence. This is not the case with Rough Night which does not have the same natural flow and almost feels forced sometimes, like it really wants you to laugh and support this wacky and zany adventure and you’re left feeling bored and wondering when they’ll get caught so it can be over with. McKinnon is the real powerhouse of the bunch, delivering a hilarious performance as the Australian Pippa, which isn’t much of a surprise to anybody as McKinnon is naturally hysterical. Though her accent is a bit over accentuated and she’s overused as the token funny person, at this point, she still delivers a great performance.
As the movie continues on it becomes clearer that the real message between murder and drugs is the bonds previously formed by the girls. In a shock to no one, Alice is played as the lonely, desperate, and an overly horny chubby girl who delivers the laughs because she’s ‘that’ girl. It isn’t outside of the norm for Hollywood to take a bigger built woman/man and have them as the token idiot or patsy or pathetic friend that needs the hotter friend to help them out and I was disappointed that this is the route they went with Alice. In a film with empowering women, you’d want them all to be built strongly and not have someone be a silly scapegoat, especially just by how they look. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the bisexuality that played out between Frankie and Blaire, which I thought was well developed within the time frame of the film.
One of the main problems in the film is that the men – mainly Jess’s fiancé Peter (Paul W. Downs) – take on hilarious parts away from the girls and onto them, bringing on more laughs than even the main cast. It wasn’t that the main cast didn’t bring humor, but I expected more from the writers of Broad City and I do believe the cast did the best it could with the material it was given. The offensive was either dull or overplayed and clichés plagued the entire story with some laughable parts here and there. Overall, it was the comedy we needed that didn’t quite deliver, but it was a decent start for more comedies with a cast of women to come forward. Let’s hope the next one doesn’t involve painful dialogue due to a poor script.
Official Fearless Rating: ✰✰ 1/2