Ok, stop me if you’ve heard this one: a group of guys or gals is out to celebrate a last night of freedom for one of them before they get married/go off to college/retire/whatever, they drink too much and/or do some drugs, and various misadventures ensue. So to that end, Rough Night is hardly anything new on the map. A group of college friends gets together 10 years later to celebrate Jess’s upcoming wedding by throwing her a bachelorette party. Jess (played by Avenger’s Scarlett Johansson) is a relatively straight laced gal (partly by nature and partly due to her being in the midst of a senatorial campaign).
The friend clique is made up of the clingy overbearing one (played by Jillian Bell), the college friend from her time spent studying abroad (in this case it’s Kate McKinnon playing an Aussie named Pippa), and sometimes-lesbian couple Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoe Kravitz). The crew all work together wonderfully as an ensemble by and large.
Written, directed, and produced by Broad City alum, Lucia Aniello, the film’s main weakness is it’s writing. We never really go anywhere that we haven’t been before with any number of these films – with Bachelor Party, Weekend At Bernie’s, and Hangover all being direct comparisons. With such an amazing cast of women actors, they could have taken it in any number of original ways, but instead, they’re kind of like luxury cars just fired up in the driveway, but never let run on the open road.
During the same time, the groom’s bachelor party is also going on, and the scenes with the men are some of the funniest of the movie. (It’s the role-reversal with the women out having a banging time in Miami, while the guys are back home having a wine tasting where the wildest happening is serving Lambrusco chilled.
There’s some smile-worthy moments along the way with some swinging neighbors played by Ty Burrell and Demi Moore, but again, you’ve got two quality actors effectively entirely underutilized.
In the end, it could have been way worse. It’s not bad, it’s just uninspired. The main thing it’s got is an entirely A-list cast, and the fun of seeing what’s effectively a guy-centric film flipped around to be women in the main focal group driving all the action and antics. We need all of the women-as-leads films that we can get, so perhaps see it anyway: if you saw Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Rough Night is far, far better.
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