The Washington, DC screening of Rough Night coincided with the opening night screening and reception of the AFI Documentary Festival. Ironically, the free booze came with the latter. So while Arty Chick and I drank wine and schmoozed with documentary filmmakers at the Newseum, Guest Chick Maggie Mazzetti ventured down the road to watch Rough Night on our behalf. Maggie is a newlywed. So, really, who better to weigh in on a raucous comedy involving a bachelorette weekend than someone who recently engaged in prenuptial shenanigans (okay, hers were probably a bit more subdued and crime-free). Anyway, here’s Maggie’s take on Rough Night:
Wouldn’t it be great to re-connect with your old college girlfriends during an epic bachelorette weekend in Miami, even if you accidentally kill a stripper and then have to think of creative ways to dispose of the body? Rough Night seems to think so.
With its stellar cast and writing team (Broad City’s Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs, who also stars in the film), you may – like I did – initially feel mildly insecure that your own pre-marriage send-off didn’t quite take it far enough. But the problem with this Bridesmaids meets Hangover mashup is that despite the comedic chops of SNL’s Kate McKinnon and Broad City’s Ilana Glazer, the film doesn’t either.
A quick synopsis: former George Washington University roommates Jess (Scarlett Johansson), Blair (Big Little Lies’ Zoë Kravitz), Alice (Jillian Bell) and Frankie (Glazer) reunite ten years after college alongside Aussie friend Pippa (McKinnon) to send now-state senator candidate Jess into married life in a blaze of drug-fueled glory. But when a male-order stripper accidentally dies under “lethally horny” Alice in the lavish living room of Jess’ biggest donor, well, the best laid plans…
Cue some confusion over the phone between Jess and husband-to-be Peter, who mistakenly thinks the marriage may be doomed, and you’ve got a double race against time to make everything right again.
The film has some bright spots, including a sequence where Peter departs his beta male bachelor party with a case of red bull and “Russian Adderall” to navigate the meth-riddled rest stops of central Florida and save his relationship. He does it in a diaper to save time on bathroom breaks (à la former real-life astronaut Lisa Marie Novak who drove more than 900 miles to confront a romantic rival—a treat for this former assignment editor!). There’s also a bizarre cameo by Demi Moore and Modern Family’s Ty Burrell who play the swinger couple living next door.
Rough Night has a powerhouse female cast that could read the alphabet and I’d be entertained. But the script doesn’t do them – or us- any favors. The film never seems to know what direction to go in. Are we supposed to laugh at some of its slapstick antics or care about the relationships between its female leads? Rough Night isn’t terrible – but it’s no Bridesmaids. Or Hangover. ‘Rough’ it out – and wait for the rental.