[FILM REVIEW] ROUGH NIGHT

You just know that director/screenwriter Lucia Aniello’s (Time Travelling Bong, Broad City) pitch for Rough Night would have gone along the lines of it’s the bachelorette party aspect of Bridesmaids meets the outrageous comedy of The Hangover. There was only one thing that went wrong – Rough Night in no way presents the outrageous-but-believable-humour of The Hangover and certainly doesn’t provide as many laughs as Bridesmaids. The result is a film that might make you chuckle once or twice but is pretty much forgotten by the time that you have left the cinema.

Alarmingly the storyline of Rough Night is eerily similar to the good film Very Bad Things. It centres around Jess (Scarlett Johansson – Lost In Translation, The Avengers) who is beginning her political career while preparing to marry her fiancé, Peter (Paul W. Downs Broad City, Time Travelling Bong). Despite being time-poor Jess’s best friend since college, Alice (Jillian Bell 22 Jump Street, Goosebumps) organises a bachelorette’s trip for her to Miami. Going along for the ride are Jess’s other friends – the recently divorced Blair (Zoe Kravitz – Mad Max: Fury Road, Divergent), political activist Frankie (Ilana Glazer Broad City, The Night Before) and Aussie Pippa (Kate McKinnon Ghostbusters, Office Christmas Party).

While the party weekend gets off to a great start it soon takes a downward turn when the girls decide to hire a stripper and while he is in the middle of his routine poor Scotty (Ryan Cooper Julia, Eye Candy) is accidentally killed. Scared that this means they will all find themselves in jail the women decide the best thing they can do is try and get rid of the body… a task that sounds easier than it really is.

Perhaps the alarming thing about Rough Night is that its issues could have been easily fixed as most come back to a very weak script. The script itself never passes Comedy 101 as it is littered with amateurish mistakes. Repeatedly the script sets up a comedic storyline but then seems to at times forget about the set up – a classic example is that it is set up really earn on that Alice is very jealous of Pippa and doesn’t want to have anything to do with each other yet throughout the film they exchange friendly exchanges only at times going back to the verbal sparring. Likewise Blair is dreading having to go all the way with swinger couple Pietro (Ty Burrell Modern Family, The Incredible Hulk) and Lea (Demi Moore Ghost, A Few Good Men), then has one of the best orgasms of her life with them, but then afterwards it seems that she has forgotten that fact and once again she is thinking it was some disgusting task.

The weakness of the main storyline is probably best revealed that the storyline surrounding Peter’s mad dash to Miami becomes more interesting than what is happening around the murder. From humourous moments at Peter’s bachelor party with his ‘soft’ friends to his diaper-dash it is much funnier and you almost wish that there was a spin-off movie around just that.

Sadly the weak script also trips up the stars at hand as well. The usually brilliant Scarlett Johansson seems out of her depth as the comedy repeatedly misfires. While Johansson has shown herself to be more than competent in dramas and action movies over the years here at times she looks like a deer in headlights. The other actress who suffers greatly in this film is Kate McKinnon thanks to some bad miscasting. McKinnon never looks comfortable delivering an Australian accent and you have to wonder why the casting department wouldn’t have cast somebody like Toni Collette, Isla Fisher or Rebel Wilson to have played the role instead.

Rough Night is very much a letdown of a film. The laughs are few and far between while the script has more holes than a corpse in The Raid. Unfunny and very forgettable Rough Night never goes anywhere near the films that it tries to follow in the footsteps of.

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Written by Dave Griffiths

Dave has worked as a music & film journalist for over 20 years now. Aside from Heavy he does radio and various podcasts as well. He is the proud owner of Metal Cat.

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