Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz
Director: Lucia Aniello
Running Time: 101 mins
Rough Night is an American film about a group of university friends who reunite for a bachelorette weekend in Miami, although things go very, very wrong when their stripper arrives on the scene.
It’s a premise you’ve seen before, and although Rough Night isn’t the world’s poorest bachelor/ette party comedy, it definitely doesn’t hold up to some of the genre’s better offerings. Despite featuring the odd good laugh, this is a fairly dull and irritating film, featuring a selection of mismatched performances and rather unlikable characters, plus an often shrill atmosphere that doesn’t allow some of the screenplay’s simpler comedy to just make you laugh.
However, we’ll start on the plus side, with the fact that there are some good laughs here. Particularly in the film’s opening act, there are some really well-written jokes here and there, a couple of which even had me laughing right out loud. Although the best jokes become a little fewer and further between as the story develops, there’s still the odd moment that can really make you laugh, moments which make watching Rough Night an overall more enjoyable experience than it could have been at worst.
The problem is, while there are some good laughs here and there, the best comedic talent from the screenplay and the actors is drowned out by a range of frustrating elements that ultimately make the film quite irritating on the whole.
Above all, the whole movie is really loud and chaotic from beginning to end, and doesn’t put you in anywhere near the right frame of mind to sit back and watch some crazy antics unfold. In comparison to The Hangover, which had a pretty self-aware sense of silly humour, Rough Night feels like it’s screaming at you, and forcing some of its more ridiculous moments down your throat, rather than simply letting the farce of the situation itself make you laugh.
What’s more is that the film doesn’t make the most of the opportunity to just be a simple buddy movie either. Yes, it’s a bit of dark comedy, but it’s styled in the manner of a typical Hollywood comedy, and with the five friends at the centre of the story, I feel as if more effort should have been put into making their friendship more convincing.
On the one hand, the collection of characters just feels like a complete mismatch. Although the film tries to make the point that people grow apart over time, the five here are just all over the place, and there’s very little to suggest their friendship other than a two-minute prologue at the beginning of the film showing them together at university. As a result, it’s a lot harder to care about moments where their relationship comes under focus, and even harder to laugh along at the premise of some old friends on a crazy night.
On the other hand, a lot of the performances here aren’t that great. Scarlett Johansson is good in the lead role, although not quite energetic and hilarious enough to really entertain, however some of her co-stars, particularly the loud and often even obnoxious Jillian Bell, the rather dull Ilana Glazer, and most of all Kate McKinnon and her horrific Australian accent, are a little bit of a chore to watch, again taking away from the potential fun of the film as a simple buddy movie.
Overall, then, I didn’t have all that much fun with Rough Night. It’s got some really good jokes interspersed throughout the movie, and although that helps make it a little more enjoyable, it doesn’t hide the poor character development, loud and chaotic directing, and collection of underwhelming performances, which is why I’m giving it a 6.5.