Review: ‘Rough Night’ not so rough for audiences Special

Posted Jun 17, 2017 by Sarah Gopaul
The new R-rated comedy ‘Rough Night’ makes its way into the male-dominated genre with a terrific cast and dead stripper.
A scene from  Rough Night
A scene from 'Rough Night'
Sony Pictures
For several decades, the raunchy comedy has belonged to men. Even though there have been a few bawdy films featuring female casts, they’ve still been directed by men. It’s taken a long time for studios to put their trust in the all-female movie, but each time they’ve recently “taken a chance” the returns have generally been worth it. The latest “risk” is Sony’s R-rated Rough Night, which is helmed by a woman who knows how to write honest, vulgar women.
Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is running a losing political campaign, while also trying to plan a wedding. So arrangements for her bachelorette are left to Alice (Jillian Bell), her college freshman roommate. Reuniting with their former classmates and best friends, Blair and Frankie (Zoë Kravitz and Ilana Glazer) — plus Aussie Pippa (Kate McKinnon) — they prepare for a wild weekend in Miami. Alice has meticulously organized their time together, but she didn’t factor in a murder and subsequent cover-up. However, when the male stripper is accidentally killed, it bumps everything else in the schedule and leaves them scrambling to hide the body before anyone decides to look through the floor-to-ceiling windows of their borrowed beach house. Meanwhile, a miscommunication with Jess’ fiancé (Paul W. Downs, who also co-wrote the script) leaves him panicked and wondering if there’s even going to be a wedding anymore.
It’s basically a combination of Very Bad Things and The Hangover with a very talented female cast. Bell is the centre of attention, boasting the biggest personality. She has a hate-on for Pippa, who she resents for even being invited by Jess since none of them met her prior to the bachelorette. She’s also incredibly horny, which results in some poor decision making. Glazer and McKinnon also bring their comedic A-games. The former is a pseudo-activist that still carries a flame for ex-girlfriend, Blair, while Pippa is an offbeat free-spirit that goes with the flow. Frankie is a recreational drug user (and pusher) with a misdemeanour criminal record and Pippa is apparently indestructible.
In the meantime, Downs’ bachelor party is the low-key function that many would find dull and most would expect the women to host. Yet, his journey to save his impending but potentially cancelled wedding is a highlight of the movie; particularly the time he spends at a gas station with no cash but a clean diaper. Demi Moore and Ty Burrell also make awkwardly humorous appearances as the party’s inappropriate, swinging neighbours who can’t take their eyes off Blair.
Co-writer/director Lucia Aniello is not timid about creating female characters that candidly discuss sex, drugs, their bodies, body hair and any other typically taboo subjects. Working on Broad City, she’s had the freedom to write women who are absurd yet relatable, and now she’s applying the same philosophy to a big screen feature. On the flipside, even though the human friend-ipede is amusing and the cast is amazing, there’s a lot here that we’ve seen before. It’s not difficult to figure out the plot twist, though the post-credit sequence is a bit of a surprise. The good news is there’s enough laughs along the way to make it matter a little less than it might have with a different cast.
Director: Lucia Aniello
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon and Zoë Kravitz