Movie Review – Rough Night (2017)

Sex!  Drugs!  Crazy women!

BQB here with a review of Rough Night.

Sigh.  I really wanted this movie to be great.  The commercials made it look like it was going to be an all female version of The Hangover but it just didn’t get there for me.

There were many parts that were mildly humorous and oddly, even amidst all the debauchery there were some touching moments but overall, when I judge a comedy I go with how many times did I laugh?  Laughter, after all, is the most honest emotional reaction.  If something is funny, you can’t help but laugh, whereas you can always feign happiness, sadness, etc.

But honestly, I didn’t laugh that many times and ironically, in a “Women can be funny too!” style movie, the most laughs the movie got out of me involve the parts where ScarJo/Jess’ fiance Peter (Paul W. Downs) goes on a mad cap, cross country trip to investigate what his bride-to-be and her gal pals are up to.

It’s not that I’m saying “Oh, blah blah blah, women aren’t funny and only men can be funny.”  I’m just saying, this movie kind of fizzled for me.  I know women can be funny.  I’ve seen Bridesmaids.  I’ve seen Spy.  Shit.  Now that I think of it, this movie probably could have benefited from a little Melissa McCarthy action.  Oh well, you live and you learn.

Oh right, the plot.  Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is getting married, so her college friends Alice (Jillian Bell of “Workaholics” fame), Frankie (Ilana Glazer of “Broad City” fame), Pippa (Kate McKinnon of SNL fame) and Blair (Zoe Kravitz of Lenny Kravitz’ daughter fame) get together and throw her a bachelorette party in Miami.

Things go south when a freak accident kills a male stripper.  Rather than come clean, the girls proceed to make a series of choices that makes things so much worse.

Overall, the plot is reminiscent Very Bad Things (1998).  As a youngster, I thought that movie was super funny and received less credit than it deserved.  Basically a group of dudes (Christian Slater, Jon Favreau, Jeremy Piven, Leland Orser, and Daniel Stern) throw a wild bachelor party in a hotel suite in Las Vegas, during which a stripper is accidentally killed.  Rather than come clean, the dudes make a series of bad choices that, you guessed it, make things worse.

I was actually thinking about starting this review by channeling David Spade (he was on SNL in the 1990s, millennials) and saying “I liked ‘Rough Night’ better when it was called ‘ Very Bad Things’ but that seemed kind of bitchy.  Plus, I have no way of knowing whether the people behind this film were trying to copy the film.  Hell, maybe I’m the only old bastard who even remembers that movie.  All I know is that the the boys did the “accidental dead stripper during a pre-wedding party” better than the girls.

Again, that’s not me being sexist.  The twist is that I know several of these women are funny.  I have laughed many times at Ilana Glazer’s antics on “Broad City.”  I have guffawed at Kate McKinnon’s SNL sketches and ultimately, I think she and Leslie Jones saved the Ghostbusters reboot from being a crap show.  I have laughed at Jillian Bell’s shenanigans on “Workaholics.”

And yet, somehow, when all these funny women were put in the same room like a comedic dream team, the movie turned out to be a swing and a miss.  Maybe I can’t even blame them.  Maybe it was just bad writing.  Maybe it’s me and I’m becoming like my Uncle Hardass and not laughing as much as I used to.  I don’t know.

I just know that I didn’t laugh that much and you know, you’re supposed to, because it’s a comedy.

I give ScarJo some credit.  This is the first time she stepped out of her comic book/summer blockbuster popcorn movie and attempted to exercise her comedy chops.  She is, for the most part, the film’s straight woman (or in comedy terms, “the straight man” or the person whose normalcy and shocked reactions to the wacky antics of everyone around her are meant to make the film funnier.  Spoiler alert – it doesn’t happen, but ScarJo tried.)

A final thought on the whole female raunchy comedy idea.  My general thought when it comes to movie ideas is this – if it works, then it was a good idea.  I’m not saying a female raunchy comedy where women act just as gross and low class as a bunch of boozed up male perverts at a bachelor party can’t be funny…I’m just saying this movie isn’t it.  Maybe someone else will try that idea and score a win someday.

Aside from film, what about women acting like a bunch of boozed up male perverts in life?  All I can say is, it’s a free country and women’s rights have come a long way, so if women want to do that, then they should.  I know women don’t want a man telling them what to do so this isn’t advice so much as it is a thought but here goes – men aren’t always right about everything.

Know how I know that?  Because I’ve yet to meet a woman who was the slightest bit shy about telling me I’m not right about everything.  When men get boozed up and do wild, crazy, piggish and perverted things at parties…they’re wrong!  Sure, it’s fun in the moment but more often than not that kind of fun can lead to an arrest, or an unbeatable addiction, an STD that can’t be cured by pennicillin or best case scenario, the breaking up of a friendship when someone does something shitty to someone else because they’re drunk.

I guess what I’m trying to say is women, you may look at men doing messed up things at bachelor parties and think that looks fun, but trust me, in the long run, it isn’t.  So if you think you want to do that, then do it because you want to, not because you think that men are great when they act that way, because when you think about it, they aren’t.

Men aren’t always right about everything, and nights fueled with perverted drunken debauchery are one of the ways men aren’t wrong.

We’re always right when it comes to driving though.  Our penises always point true north so we have no need to pull over and ask for directions.

STATUS:  Borderline shelf-worthy.  Don’t bother running out to the theater but it’s worth a rental later.

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2 thoughts on “Movie Review – Rough Night (2017)

  1. So, as I read the plot, it mirrors a CSI (classic) plot from an episode in season 1, without the comedy, of course.

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