Rough Night
dir Lucia Aniello
scr Lucia Aniello, Paul W Downs
prd Dave Becky, Matt Tolmach, Lucia Aniello, Paul W Downs
with Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, Paul W Downs, Ryan Cooper, Colton Haynes, Ty Burrell, Demi Moore, Hasan Minhaj, Dean Winters
release US 16.Jun.17, UK 25.Aug.17
17/US Columbia 1h41
Rough Night
Another weekend at Bernie's: Cooper with Kravitz, Johansson and Glazer

mckinnon burrell moore
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Rough Night A snappy script and sharply defined characters helps make this raucous comedy engaging even if there's nothing even slightly original about it. Virtually everything that happens feels familiar, but the cast members manage to inject some loose nuttiness that makes the movie watchable. Still, it feels like it misses every opportunity to be memorable.

A decade after her drunken college days, Jess (Johansson) is running for political office, annoyed that her straight-laced image is making her unelectable. So her fiance Peter (Downs) urges her to cut lose on her hen weekend in Miami with her best pals: party girl Alice (Bell), working mother Blair (Kravitz) and activist Frankie (Glazer), plus Jess' lively Australian friend Pippa (McKinnon). But when their stripper (Cooper) dies accidentally, these five supposedly intelligent women panic, trying to get rid of the evidence. And of course that isn't as easy as it looks in the movies.

The film has a slightly distasteful, edgy tone that pokes fun at drug use, violence and sexuality, but instead of going for it with black comedy, the script plays everything relatively safely, indulging in the usual elements (that dance routine from college) while delving sentimentally into issues of long-term friendship. There's also some unnecessary cross-cutting to Peter's more gentlemanly stag party, leading to his own madcap road-trip adventure, which involves not-so-hilarious adult nappies. But then there are pointless twists and turns in both strands.

Johansson anchors the film as the sensible character we can identify with, Frankly, she's a bit dull. So every scene is stolen by Bell and McKinnon, who get far more colourful characters to play around with. Kravitz has a little more depth of character to explore, as the seemingly perfect woman whose marriage is secretly collapsing. But the film skirts around that, as well as Glazer's characters sexuality. But then none of the dialog is terribly convincing.

For what's essentially a gross-out comedy, this movie feels bizarrely timid. The plot element touching on naturism is oddly generic, although Burrell and Moore are hilarious as free-loving nudist neighbours. There's also the problem that Jess' plot-strand touches on gender-inequality issues, but those are summarily dropped in lieu of some more corny ideas about disposing a body, leading into a tepid thriller-style final act. Thankfully, the cast is more than watchable, they're likeable even when they're doing stupid things.

cert 15 themes, language, drugs, violence, sexuality 10.Aug.17

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