Rough Night delivers on the laughs but pretty much flops story wise, character development wise, and its heart is as mechanical as Dick Chaney’s.
For years, a group of 5 friends haven’t all been in the same place. Part of it dealt with their various jobs and responsibilities, but also this was due to personal decisions. Jess (Scarlett Johansson) hasn’t been around Alice (Jillian Bell) as much because she can be stifling. Blair (Zoe Kravitz) and Frankie (Ilana Glazer) have been distant ever since they broke up. As for Pippa (Kate McKinnon)? Well, she is in Australia and everyone else is American. Honestly, she has done nothing wrong.
But with Jess getting married, Alice takes it as an opportunity to get the gang back together. Which goes well, for the most part, even if Pippa is new and taking away from Alice’s Jess time. But then a young man, assumingly a stripper, comes into their lives and Alice kills him. You’ve seen the trailer. And from there, arguably things don’t get better.
It Is Funny
It has Kate McKinnon in it. I mean, come on. Naturally, you are going to laugh. But, to my surprise, mostly because I’m not familiar with her work, Jillian Bell does compete with her. Not to the point where you can save Bell wasn’t put in McKinnon’s shadow like everyone else, but she tried. Granted, it was with sex jokes, which get less and less funny as the year goes on, but at least there was an attempt. An attempt to not basically make this another film which leaves you wondering why McKinnon isn’t starring in it.
It Was Really Difficult To Care About These Characters, Their Story, and Their Relationships
Truly, it is hard to think of a concise way to criticize Rough Night. Many times I have started this with noting that this film exhibits why Marvel has not invested in Johansson starring in a Black Widow movie, and that has gone on for paragraphs. Ones dealing with how she doesn’t bring a single thing to this movie. She doesn’t bring the funny, she doesn’t use her dramatic chops to bolster the troubled relationship Jess has with Alice and seems to just be, like Chris Hemsworth, living off of her Marvel association.
Then with Blair and Frankie, again there was a rant. One dealing with Kravitz really needing to stop finding movies where she seems like a token made for a diversity quota. The other being that Glazer needs to show some versatility and not be like 99% of comics, male especially, who rely on one shtick throughout their entire career [note]Like Will Ferrell who I still don’t know why people find him funny[/note].
But, to get to the point, for this film isn’t interesting enough to go on and on about, you are just presented with 0 reasons to care about anyone. Pretty much, like a Peanuts movie, you are left with this vibe that everyone is saying something, but all that comes out is “Wah wah.” Which is only broken by McKinnon giving her silver lining moments, similar to what we got in Ghostbusters, and Bell saying something dirty which is funny. But whenever this film tries to dig into the fact the women killed someone or how complicated their relationships are, “Wah wah.”
Overall: Mixed (Divisive)
21 laughs isn’t bad. However, those all pretty much come from two actors. Everyone else is just kind of there for reasons you partly can understand. Johansson since she is arguably the most famous one. Kravitz because there needs to be one minority on the poster. McKinnon because they need someone who makes the film being called a comedy credible. Bell because they need at least one character to try to walk the line between being funny and providing the film some heart. Then, when it comes to Glazer? Well, you got to give the Black character someone to play off of. It can’t be the lead so it has to be someone right?
Which is why this is being labeled as mixed. Something about this film screams like it strictly is about being counterprogramming to All Eyez On Me. However, while it, assumingly, may appeal to whoever the intended demographic is, I can bet you that it will quickly be forgotten before June is over. Hopefully not just by the theater chains, but by myself as well. [note]This film was so bleh I can’t bring myself to get some screenshots from the trailer for the review. I just want to throw this in the pile of movies I forgot I once watched.[/note]