Movie Review: Rough Night (2017)
Rough Night clearly borrows its premise from Very Bad Things where an accidental murder of a stripper/prostitute pushes the partygoers to extreme measures to save their own skin. Fortunately, this film goes in a different direction than Very Bad Things, but it’s still a little bit rough…yeah. Director Lucia Aniello puts together a solid narrative with a few scenes of comedy, but some of the performances and writing leave a little to be desired.
Rough Night manages to work fairly well despite some of the weaker elements
Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is about to marry Peter (Paul W. Downs). That is of course after her best friends from college Alice (Jillian Bell), Blair (Zoe Kravitz), and Frankie (Ilana Glazer) plus her Australian friend from her semester abroad, Pippa (Kate McKinnon), throw her a bachelorette party. The girls all meet in Miami and are living it up until an accident leads to the death of the stripper. Now, concerned with their collective futures they have to decide how to proceed.
The funniest aspect of this movie is the flipping of stereotypical gender roles. Peter and his friends are having a calm, sophisticated bachelor party. When a panicked phone call from Jess makes Peter worry that the wedding may not happen, this comedic premise gets even richer. His friends start giving him advice as to what to do now, but it’s this b-story that is the most entertaining. Downs is a relatively new face to the big screen, but his comedic presence is strong.
Not all good though…
The weakest links in the main story are Jillian Bell and Kate McKinnon. Bell’s delivery of dialogue always feels like she is acting. The way she delivers her lines usually makes the jokes fall flat. She has a few good moments, but her role is too prominent to be mediocre. McKinnon probably isn’t at fault as much as the writing of her character. She is Australian and they cram in Vegemite jokes and silly fish out of water elements on top of her forced accent. It’s a mess and doesn’t really work.
Scar-Jo, Illana Glazer, and Zoe Kravitz work really well though. Glazer is probably the stand out. She should land a leading role in a comedy after her work here. There are several cameos that have varying degrees of humor and exposition, but Demi Moore was the big shock. She’s not in the film long, but it’s been awhile since she’s been on the big screen.
Rough Night has some funny moments and a reasonable comedy plot. There are elements of the girls backstories that seem relatively superficial, but enough comes across for them to realize what’s really important in life. A few more laughs could have easily pushed this film up to another level, but it still wasn’t horrible. Rough Night earns the Decent Watch rating.