The five central characters of ROUGH NIGHT are friends from their college days; the kind who swear up and down (especially when incredibly drunk) that they’ll always be close and that their kids will grow up together. This doesn’t quite turn out to be the case, and the girls, a decade removed from their beer pong-winning, frat house-crashing days, have taken different paths.
Jess (Scarlett Johansson, in a departure from her Marvel entries) has a political career going yet stumbling; Frankie (Ilana Glazer, BROAD CITY) is an activist who doesn’t practice the preach; Blair (Zoë Kravitz, HBO’s BIG LITTLE LIES) is a real estate agent in the midst of a divorce; Alice (Jillian Bell, Comedy Central’s WORKAHOLICS) is a teacher, but the sort who greets the bride-to-be with a hearty “Shots! Shots! Shots!”; and Pippa (Kate McKinnon, proving to be one of the best SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE cast members in some time) is the outsider, an Australian who Jess met on a semester abroad. But they will come together again for one occasion: Jess’ bachelorette party in Miami.
The weekend will undoubtedly be one of liquor, male strippers and penis accessories, from straws to pasta. (Elsewhere, Jess’ fiancé is spending his bachelor party at a wine tasting, just to underline how craaaaaaaazy the girls are being…) And it is, which is all good and well until a prostitute is left dead.
Considering the cast, ROUGH NIGHT is a movie you want to be funny,. But its basis–that, hey, look at these women doing lewd activities!–doesn’t offer enough, drawing the most unflattering comparisons to movies like THE HANGOVER and, worse, VERY BAD THINGS. This is a strong cast (Jillian Bell remains something of a comedic gem, a standout in nearly every movie/show she’s cast in), but they’re only permitted to act as thin, poorly written caricatures. There is the self-important leader, the jealous BF(F?), the uncontrollable rebel, etc., all on display by talented actresses lowering themselves for mostly cheap gags. (So many end up focusing on the corpse–three for your pleasure: putting penis glasses on him, pretending to have sex with him, dumping his body in the ocean from a Jet Ski.)
Director Lucia Aniello (who has served as director, writer and executive producer on Comedy Central’s BROAD CITY), who co-wrote the screenplay with Paul W. Downs (thrown in the role of Jess’ fiancé), must have had a blast making ROUGH NIGHT with this cast, but that doesn’t necessarily translate.
It’s not that ROUGH NIGHT doesn’t offer its share of fun. It’s that the quantity of gags is limited, and so many are recycled. Really, often does the viewer need a reminder that corpses, cocaine and footjobs are oh-so hysterical?
Video: 2.39:1 in 1080p with MPEG-4 AVC codec. Details are strong and colors are healthy throughout.
Audio: English, French, Italian and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio; Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles in English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Dialogue is clean, while the soundtrack comes through with full effect.
Deleted Scenes (9:24): There are 11 here, which can be viewed separately or as a whole. They are: “Sunset,” “Singer/Songwriter,” “Club Intro,” “Patio Fire Dancing,” “Stripper Shows It All,” “Blair and Frankie Talk,” “Moving the Body,” “Taking Out the Trash,” “Drive Down the Miami Drag,” “Alice Checks on the Real Scotty” and “News Report.”
Scandalous Sing-Along (1:26) lets viewers sing a recap of the movie with Pippa.
Naughty Neighbor Diaries (4:33) is divided into two segments: “Video Dating Profile,” “‘Open Says Me’ Questionnaire,” both focused on the characters played by Ty Burrell and Demi Moore.
Gag Reel (4:13)
Improv-o-Rama (8:37) features off-the-cuff takes from various cast members.
Killer Cast (7:53) puts the female cast under the spotlight.
The Dynamic Duo: Lucia and Paul (4:59) focuses on writing team.
Playing Dead (2:40) gives Ryan Cooper, who plays the dead stripper, some screentime.
Do a Little Dance (3:03) looks at the ladies’ college-days dance.