Film Review: Rough Night (2017)

2017 in Cinema:

Rough Night, 2017

Directed by: Lucia Aniello

Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Zoe Kravitz, Paul W. Downs, Ty Burrell, Demi Moore


Bridesmaids meets Girls Trip (albeit without their charm and humour) with an accidental comical murder. Scarlett Johansson stars as Jessica, a bride-to-be who is taken to Miami on her bachelorette party, organised by her friend Alice (Jillian Bell) and featuring her other three friends Pippa (Kate McKinnon), who is visiting from Australia, Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoe Kravitz), the latter two are a former couple. All seems to go well (with the usual alcohol and drugs and parties) until they accidentally kill a stripper.

While the comparison to Girls Trip and Bridesmaids are correct, with regards to its plot and the scenario (bridesmaids on a bachelorette, friends who haven’t been together on a crazy adventure since college), if the three were ranked by their comedy then Rough Night would unfortunately land in third. It’s humour is very easy and simple, with jokes used time and time again, and unfortunately the few jokes which stood out as funny were few and far between (and that’s if you didn’t see them on the trailers).

As for the acting, the leading couple, Jessica and Peter (Paul W. Downs), have very little chemistry together on screen. It’s difficult as they spend very little time together, but their conversations and their behaviour is obviously not based on a real romance. And while it’s not a knock against Johansson’s performance, the chemistry between the group of girls also isn’t as nice as it could be. One of the surprising things about Girls Trip recently was how they interacted as a group; Rough Night doesn’t allow too much back story to their friendship, and what we do know doesn’t benefit anything (except Frankie and Blair’s relationship once or twice). While it stands out from most other get-together movies due to its murdering of the stripper, its main foundation is the group and that unfortunately isn’t very strong.

Speaking of the murder, afterwards the film seems to struggle on its way moving forward. It never seems to decide whether it’s going to try and be comical about the situation or serious. Tones and jokes change quite rapidly and it’s hard to be laughing one minute and concerned the next when we know it’s going back and forth so often.

Rough Night is a fine comedy that will have you laughing now and then, but the camaraderie between the group, the jokes and the whole plot aren’t very strong to make it a film that will stand the test of time among its similar, and better, peers.


Plot: * * *

Acting: * *

Writing: * *

Presentation: * *

Overall Rating: * * ¼


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