By Mark Saldana
Rating: 2.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
There have been plenty of films about bachelor parties-gone-wrong, but not really any about bachelorette party mayhem. Rough Night promises to put an end to that disparity and do it with the same amount of crude, lewd, and wild humor. The movie does offer plenty of raunchy and wild humor involving sex, drugs, alcohol and violence, but never achieves the same level of success that their male contemporaries have in this type of film. To be fair, the movie does have its funny moments, but not enough to make me want to sing its praises. Lackluster comedic writing, cliche situations, and poor comic timing in certain scenes keep this film from achieving legendary status.
It has been ten years since five college friends have gotten together and partied hard like they used to back in the day. With Jess’s (Scarlett Johannson) big wedding coming up, they now have an legitimate excuse to go buck wild, and Alice (Jillian Bell) plans the ultimate weekend for the group in Miami. Jess is not only getting married soon; she also is running for public office and would prefer a tame weekend of celebrating. She invites her Australian friend Pippa (Kate Middleton) who doesn’t know the other ladies as well, and seems to bring out Alice’s jealous side. Frankie (Iliana Glazer) and Frankie (Zoe Kravitz) were a romantic item in college, but have been apart for several years now. Both have their own issues and problems that they hope to escape during this party weekend. Even though they have a history together, they try to let bygones be bygones and simply be there for Jess. Things get off to a fun and crazy start, but get even crazier when the women accidentally kill their male stripper (Ryan Cooper). Desperate to deal with their shocking predicament, the women must really put all of their quarrels aside and work together to defuse the situation.
Written by Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs, Rough Night does succeed in delivering some hearty laughs, but is ultimately disappointing. Riddled with cliche scenarios and situations and cliche friendship and relationship drama, the film might offer a female perspective, but one that is not that different from the male versions of this story. The movie has delightfully humorous and crazy moments, but also has its share of comedic duds. Perhaps it has to do with the direction and some of the writing, but what disappoints me the most is that this movie has such an awesome comedic cast, but it actually succeeds in making them look unfunny in certain scenes.
I have seen Jillian Bell, Kate McKinnon and Ilana Glazer deliver some hilarious performances in other films and television shows, but it saddened me at times to see them in some painfully unfunny moments. It makes me wonder if this movie was rushed somewhat and that they could have made a funnier movie had they done more takes, worked more on the improvisation or did some major rewrites to the planned jokes. Scarlett Johannson and Zoe Kravitz do just fine in the film, as they portray the straight characters opposite the multitude of intended comic relief. The funniest characters in the film are actually portrayed by Ty Burrell and Demi Moore who portray Pietro and Lea, the libidinous neighbors of the beach house borrowed for the party. That isn’t to say that Bell, McKinnon and Glazer are not funny at all. I have seen them do way better, though.
And I was hoping that a movie offering a female perspective on the bachelor party-gone-wrong comedy would be more fun, exciting and brilliant, but sadly that isn’t the case here. Though not horrendous, Rough Night is a film I do not recommend paying to see on the big screen. Comedy fans should wait to rent this one or watch when it comes to movie channels on cable or satellite. Rough Night is good for a few laughs, but not much else.