Movie Review: “Rough Night” lives down to its title


Awww, SOMEbody’s got a girl crush.

Well, it’s on “Saturday Night Live” MVP Kate McKinnon, so I certainly get it.

Every time McKinnon takes a breath and launches into a “bit” in the “Bridesmaids with a Dead Body” comedy “Rough Night,” director Lucia Aniello singles her out in the frame, gives her isolation and says “Have at it. BRING the funny, GIRL.”

Well, maybe it’s not a crush. Maybe it’s from desperation. A tin-eared women-talk-dirty farce with blood and a seriously unfunny “Weekend at Bernie’s” body to dispose of, “Rough Night” needs some laughs. And Scarlett Johannson isn’t going to provide them, and the overbearing Jillian Bell (“Fist Fight,””Office Christmas Party”) wears out her Melissa-McCarthy-meets-Amy-Schumer welcome pretty fast.

“I got my IUD for MIAMI!”

The wildly uneven affair is set during a bachelorette weekend in Miami where four George Washington U. party girls we’ve seen dominating beer pong back in the day gather to celebrate state senate candidate Jess’s impending nuptials.

Jess (Johansson), as a candidate, is a seriously gorgeous stiff. Alice (Bell) is a seriously needy and possessive elementary school teacher.

Then, there’s the professional protester Frankie (Glazer, of TV’s “Broad City”) and the gorgeous, rich, about-to-be-single mom, Blair (Kravitz) Frankie used to have a thing with, back in college.

So nothing like a weekend in Sin City to renew their friendship and party like they’re not trying too hard to relive their college hedonism. But of course they are. “Shot SHOT SHOT SHOT” leads to booze, weed, blow, bickering and bantering.

And then there’s Pippa (McKinnon), Jess’s “new” friend from Down Under. McKinnon trots out catch-phrases — “Bu-MA-zing” — and the worst “shrimp on the barbie” accent this side of “Dumb and Dumber.”

When a stripper shows up and gets killed, by accident, due to their over-enthusiasm? Par for the course. And not funnier than anything that’s come before it.


The stars, playing caricatures, have their moments — save for Johansson, who, like McKinnon, is funnier on SNL than she’s ever been on the big screen. The laughs in this Aniello and Paul W. Downs (“Broad City”) romp live around the edges. The pervy/swinger neighbors (Ty Burrell and Demi Moore) who live next door to the house the party girls are staying in, the parallel metrosexual bore of a bachelor party, with the wimpy-bore of a fiance (co-writer Downs) and Peter the fiance’s mad drive to save a marriage he thinks will never come off are far and away the funniest sequences in the picture.

A confusing phone call sends Peter packing — South, from DC to Miami. Can’t go by plane, or train. He’s got to go “Sad Astronaut.” A bachelor party (wine tasting) bro tells him the story of Lisa Nowak, the crazed astronaut in the adult diapers, hurtling cross country to kidnap a romantic rival in Orlando — doing a “Sad Astronaut.” The picture is peppered with Florida cop jokes and references to Florida gun laws.

But truthfully, even though it rallies in its last third to manage something like comic momentum, “Rough Night” never recovers from the bloody death and the mess that ensues. And all the attempted McKinnon moments and omnivorous Demi and Ty come-ons to Kravitz (playing it straight, and killing it) cannot save it.



MPAA Rating: R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and brief bloody images

Cast: Scarlett Johannson, Kate McKinnon, Zo  Kravitz, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Paul W. Downs, Ty Burrell, Demi Moore, Dean Winter

Credits:Directed by Lucia Aniello, script by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs. A Sony/Columbia release.

Running time: 1:41

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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