Five friends meet in Miami --- South Beach to be exact --- for a wild weekend of drinking and partying --- what could possibly go wrong? "Rough Night", the R-rated comedy directed and co-written by Lucia Aniello, provides us with an outlandish, hilarious snapshot of the myriad possibilities.
Jess (Scarlett Johansson), the unofficial ringleader of this group from college, is running for public office, and now she's getting married. Despite her all-consuming campaign, which can't seem to gain ground even though her opponent continues to share photos of his manhood, Jess is determined to get away for her bachelorette celebration.
Her roommate from freshman year, Alice (Jillian Bell), has planned this adventure to the minute, but it is Blair's (Zoe Kravitz) idea to hire a stripper, and Frankie (Ilana Glazer) promptly finds one on Craig's List. Pippa (Kate McKinnon), Jess' Aussie buddy from her study- abroad experience, rounds out this crazy crew, who find themselves in over their heads when Alice accidentally kills the male performer.
Do not pay any attention to whatever David has written. Somehow men just don't seem to get the fact that women can go away for a party weekend and get as raunchy as their male counterparts. And though "Rough Night" does have its moments of questionable debauchery, it is also highly entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny. Seriously, the only people complaining after our screening were men --- grow up!
Johannson and the girls are all real troopers who get the most out of this script by Aniello, who is making her feature film directorial debut, and Paul W. Downs, who stars as Jess' fiance Peter. They are ach up to the task of making us roar with laughter, but it is McKinnon who steals the show.
This hugely talented comedic actress has been killing it for years on SNL, and her character Pippa is a strong reminder of just how gifted she is --- Aussie accent et al. She nails every line in every scene. When she hands the pizza delivery guy Australian currency and tells him to get lost, it's priceless.
Please --- do not make the terrible mistake of leaving the theater before the very last credit has rolled. Otherwise you will miss two worthwhile additions. So ladies, get your girlfriends together and go see "Rough Night" --- you won't regret it.
Opinion: See It Now!
If one were to edit out all the insipidly stupid stuff in "Rough Night" -- the vibrator jokes, the penis references, the men's incontinent diapers, just to name a few --- the film would be a half-hour sitcom. If no one thought of casting Kate McKinnon, complete with Aussie accent, there wouldn't be much of a movie. With all due respect to Scarlett Johansson, McKinnon is the comedic talent who keeps this film somewhat interesting.
Jeanne might say "Rough Night" is for females, as in "girls night out". Maybe, but "Bridesmaids" was certainly hilarious, so if the writing is good, a "female" film will appeal to everyone. Unfortunately, first-time feature filmmaker and co-writer Lucia Aniello has a few hits but mostly misses in this effort. Early on, a champagne cork popping in an airport terminal causes everyone around this group of friends to hit the ground, as if they heard a gunshot. That's original. But seeing a dead body propped up in various positions --- much of the movie is centered on that theme --- is old hat.
Johansson is Jess, the bride-to-be, engaged to Peter (Paul W. Downs, who also co-wrote the script). Scarlett is naturally funny and a very good actress. But even she can't overcome most of the material. I did like her scene reading a heartfelt note from Alice (Jillian Bell) --- genuine tears and a rare poignant moment.
As for Peter, he spends half the movie in a man's diaper because he doesn't want to waste time stopping to urinate while on his road trip to see Jess. Smart idea, but what normal man wears incontinent protection without pants? And all the d**k-sucking jokes when Peter stops for gas? Not funny, but at least it gave one of the guys from the Sonic ads a film credit. On the other hand, the scenes with Peter and friends discussing the finer points of wine is a nice touch. One of those guys is Hasan Minhaj, the uber-hilarious wag from The Daily Show, who is severely underutilized.
Speaking of guys from ads, Dean Winters (Allstate's "Mayhem" man) makes an appearance. And Demi Moore and Ty Burrell play a couple who make no bones about wanting to swing. Their scenes are more salacious than humorous.
Zoe Kravitz (Blair) and Ilana Glazer (Frankie) round out the five women who want one last blast for Jess before her nuptials. They're perfectly okay, but the writing doesn't give their characters enough depth so that we care about them.
Jeanne and our daughter really liked "Rough Night", and they're entitled to their opinion. I did not.
Opinion: Wait for DVD