There is no way you can see the new comedy Rough Night and not compare it to its obvious inspirations — chiefly Bridesmaids (the movie that launched a thousand imitators), The Hangover (ditto), Bachelor Party, Very Bad Things, and even that comic heirloom Weekend At Bernie’s. So while it doesn’t get points for originality, Rough Night does score a lot of laughs even if this particular bachelorette party sometimes sails way over the top in pursuit of them. As I say in my video review (click the link above to watch ) what made it work for me was the cast, which saves this film’s tendency to get uber-ridiculous every single time.
Scarlett Johansson plays Jess, a sharp young woman running for office, who is joined by her former college chums for a weekend bachelorette party in Miami before she gets hitched to boyfriend Peter (Paul W. Downs, who also co-wrote the script with director Lucia Aniello). While he is concurrently having perhaps the most sedate and mild bachelor party in the history of this type of flick, the girls grabbing a cocaine high for starters are just the opposite.
Joined by bestie Alice (Jillian Bell), shrewd Blair (Zoe Kravitz), organizer Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Australian (!) Pippa (played hilariously by Kate McKinnon), it all starts out looking like a typical let’s-get-buzzed-and-bring-on-the-male-stripper raunch-fest … until that stripper dies after hitting his head hard on marble when an over-excited Alice jumps him. As blood flows freely from his head, the girls panic and try to dispose the body rather than call police. All of this escalates through this wild night when, finally, two cops knock on the door and things really careen out of control.
Meanwhile, a dopey subplot keeps getting in the way of things as Peter, misconstruing a phone call with his fiancée, sets out in diapers on a road trip to rescue his impending marriage which really goes bad when he runs out of money, gas and credit cards. The episode is just a distraction that doesn’t really pay off, but it gives co-writer Downs a chance to steal the spotlight. There are also scenes with Demi Moore and Modern Family’s Ty Burrell, next-door neighbors of the rented Miami getaway who take a left turn when they are revealed as swingers looking for a third among the girls that they soon find in Blair. Although a distraction from the main event, I have to admit I laughed at the cheesy nature of this very affected and sexually charged couple.
All of this is under the control of a director who gives it just the right feminine touch, while managing to let the camaraderie and closeness among the characters shine through. There’s even a bit of heart in between all the mayhem, and best of all there is McKinnon, who again steals the show with brilliantly offbeat line readings in an uproarious Aussie accent. And be warned to stay through the entire end credit sequence — not only to catch her musical number but also a key tie-up to a major plot point and twist that occurs during the movie’s final third.
Although we have seen it all before, Rough Night allows us a chance to see it again with this terrific and very welcome cast of talented actresses. Producers are Dave Becky, Matt Tolmach, Aniello and Downs. Sony Pictures releases it wide Friday.
Do you plan to see Rough Night? Let us know what you think.