Monday, June 26, 2017

Review: "Rough Night" wants to be an all-girls "Hangover." Completely fails in the process

Rough Night Review
Normally, I hate comparing movies to other movies. I like to tackle each film on their own terms, base my reaction to the film's own merits. But sometimes, that's hard to do. Especially in this day and age when everything seems to be a homage of a homage to something that came before. "Rough Night" seems to be marketed as an all-female "Hangover." Funny, since it was distributed by Sony and Paramount Pictures, which also released the all-female "Ghostbusters" movie last year. Originality just doesn't suit them anymore, huh?

Funny enough, "Rough Night" isn't really like "The Hangover." I can tell it really wants to be, but it is certainly not. In fact, it is more in the vein of "Weekend At Bernie's" if you had to compare it to something else, and I will certainly get into why in just a moment. But I am definitely getting sick of comparing movies to other works, it'd be nice to get back to a time when everything felt fresh, am I right?

Jess (Scarlet Johansson), Alice (Jillian Bell), Frankie (Ilana Glazer), and Blair (Zoe Kravitz) have all been friends since college, and Alice and Jess are especially very close. Ten years after college, Jess is engaged to be married and its Alice who plans Jess' bachelorette party. Alice also invites Pippa (Kate McKinnon) a friend of Jess' who she met during a college semester in Australia. The film begins with lots of alcohol, drug use, the typical bad decisions we see bachelor party movies. The girls conspire to hire a male stripper for Jess later that night, who sure enough shows up. After some uncomfortable naughty talk and a girl trying to get "her turn" with the stripper, the stripper accidentally falls over and cracks his head open, dying. The rest of the movie is the girls trying to decide what to do with the dead body in their rented house.

While the movie tries to be a redux of "The Hangover," "Rough Night" is anything but. For starters, despite the participation of Bell, Glazer, Kravitz, Johansson, McKinnon and even Ty Burrell and Demi Moore, its not very funny. I saw "The Hangover" at least four or five times in the summer of 2009, and every time I saw it, I found new laughs. The laughs came hard and repetitive in that film. I barely ever cracked a smile watching "Rough Night." When it comes to comedy, a big factor in deciding whether or not I like and want to recommend the film is based upon how much I laugh. I have an immature sense of humor, I laugh at most things. I have friends who can attest to this. I barely laughed during "Rough Night."

The other big problem I have with the movie is that its story gets boiled down to typical girl drama. Right as the movie begins, you know that a wedge is going to strike in the middle of this group, that's just how they chose to set things up. There is going to be drama that sets them apart and of course we know they will apologize and all be friends by the film's end. Its such a safe and generic way to set up a conflict in a movie that I couldn't stand it. This is a raunchy comedy about a bachelorette party gone wrong, leave the girl drama at home for once.

There is also a ridiculous subplot where Jess calls her fiance (Paul W. Downs) minutes after the stripper's death. Of course, their phones mess up and it sounds worse than what her fiance originally hears and he thinks Jess wants to break it off with him. The film goes out of its way to include the fiance as a major player in the film. I would have edited the fiance subplot entirely and focused more on making this funny and spent more time at the bachelorette party. That should have been the focal point of the entire movie. Every time the fiance showed up, I kept checking out the movie. Its such a tired, trite cliche to include in a film that bored me to death.

Ladies, if you want a good  all female "Hangover" type movie. Check out the film "Bachelorette." It stars Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Kaplan, Isla Fischer, Rebel Wilson, James Marsden and Adam Scott. Its a lot more successful in its attempt to be funny and good compared to this. "Rough Night" just ends up being wasted time, and a night I care not to remember.

FINAL GRADE: D

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