Bluecat Review – Rough Night

By Andrew L. Schwartz 

A few weeks ago, Wonder Woman shattered box-office records proving the world is ready for a female-driven superhero film. Not only that, but the film was helmed by a female director. This week, Rough Night follows suit, being the first female directed R-rated comedy since It’s Complicated (2009).  Rough Night hit theaters with a promise to deliver a female-driven version of The Hangover

 

Rough Night, Rough Reception. 

 

The film focuses on a group of college friends, each with their own distinct personality. There is the bride-to be and candidate for public office Jess (Scarlett Johansson), freshman roommate Alice (Jillian Bell), socialite Blair (Zoë Kravitz) and would be leftist-activist Frankie (Ilana Glazer), gather together in Miami to celebrate a bachelorette party.

Toss Kate McKinnon in as a free spirited Austrialian named Pippa, add the killing of a Craigslist escort, and you’ve got a recipe for laughs. At least that’s what writers Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs hoped to deliver. But with these extreme personalities, we have a character study that hops around plot-holes too much to retain viewing pleasure. 

Some of the film’s better moments come from the husband-to-be, Peter(Paul W. Downs), whose buddies throw him a low-key bachelor party complete with wine tastings and cheese pairings. His party serves as a refreshing counterpart to the action of Jess and her friends’ story. When Peter receives a phone call from a stressed out Jess, he mistakenly takes the message as her throwing off the wedding and drives to Miami to win her back.

 

Sound Familiar? 

 

Picture The Hangover flipped on it’s head: Paul is the sensitive one and the women are the ones wreaking havoc. If nothing else, Rough Night is an unapologetic attempt at being a studio-friendly beacon of hope for the “woke” generation. But it fails to fully commit to that idea. When a raunchy joke is made, it’s immediately followed by an attempt at staying sensitive to that plight. It’s as if the studio felt that by creating a female-driven take on bromance comedy, they were already pushing the boundaries too far.

Rough Night takes a step for female-driven films, but it’s step in the wrong direction. Making murder humorous is dependent on character. The characters featured drive Rough Night to the ground because of their vain and selfish portrayal. For hardcore Broad City fans, there may be snippets to enjoy. No one can deny Kate McKinnon’s talent of producing laughs, but the highlights of Rough Night are short-lived. Although moments feel fresh, this new take on a familiar story leaves a lot to be desired. Wrapping up an extensive plot hole with a few lines of dialogue really drives the idea that the film has spiraled out of the hands of almost everyone involved.

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