Is a comedy film any good when only about a dozen jokes make you laugh? This odd Weekend at Bernie’s (1989) and The Hangover (2008) hybrid starts out slow and barely is even worth a chuckle and by the end becomes an ordinary and mediocre comedy.
Rough Night takes the dark comedic premise of killing a stripper at a bachelorette party but provides main characters that are not very funny or interesting. Jess (Scarlett Johansson), is played as the straight character but you could argue that Blair (Zoë Kravitz), also could fit that bill. Alice (Jillian Bell) is the planner of Jess’ Bachelorette party and a stereotype of age-old tropes of the crazy best-friend of the main character. Frankie (Ilana Glazer) plays a far-left hippie activist who has her moments but still remains quite static as a character. Then we have Pippa (Kate McKinnon), who fits the quirky foreign-friend archetype (this time Australian) and her shtick gets old as soon as she is introduced. The parts of Rough Night that actually were funny, mostly had to do with the supporting cast. Jess’ fiance in the film, Peter (Paul W. Downs who also co-wrote the film) had a very funny plot-line more interesting than the central story. Peter is also joined by his friends at a wine and cheese tasting bachelor party in the first act, which include characters played by Eric Andre and Bo Burnham. Ty Burrell and Demi Moore are also the film’s other saving grace, playing next-door swingers to Jess and her friends at their Miami beach-house. So, in other words, everything (at least character-wise) is great about this movie except the main cast.
Rough Night is a film that will not be that memorable past this summer. Despite having a funny supporting cast, it still manages to fall into screenwriting clichés such as characters fighting then making up as a way to provide an illusion of a character arc. I would only recommend seeing Rough Night if you are a very big fan of writer’s Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs work on their TV show Broad City and are in dire need of something to watch before the season four premiere in August.
Author’s Note: If you do see Rough Night, try to spot the actor who played Buzz from Home Alone. He shows up in a funny minor role.