ROUGH NIGHT (R16, MINS), DI­RECTED BY LU­CIA ANIELLO

Central Otago Mirror - - OUT & ABOUT -

From Brides­maids to Bad Moms, the whole ‘‘women be­hav­ing badly’’ schtick is cer­tainly noth­ing new. But is it still funny?

It can be – when you’ve got lead­ing ladies as good as the cast of Rough Night.

Scar­lett Jo­hans­son plays Jess, a bride-to-be and the head of this girl gang, which formed 10 years ago at col­lege as they bonded over beer-pong.

Now aim­ing for a ca­reer in pol­i­tics, Jess’ days of de­bauch­ery are be­hind her, but she can’t say no to a hen’s do in Mi­ami with her old gal pals.

There she meets up with neu­rotic party girl Alice (Jil­lian Bell), rich high-achiever Blair (Zoe Kravitz), so­cial jus­tice war­rior Frankie ( Broad City’s Ilana Glazer), and Pippa, the freespirit from Down Un­der (played by the al­ways bril­liant Kate McKin­non of Satur­day Night Live).

The re­u­nion in­volves plenty of drinks and drugs and even a sloppy dance rou­tine. Good friends that they are, the gang de­cides to treat Jess to a strip­per – and if you’ve seen the trailer, you’re well aware that things start to go down­hill from there.

The re­sult is a raunchy, dark com­edy (though not quite as dark as 1998’s Very Bad Things), with a hint of The Hang­over and a bit of Week­end of Bernie’s thrown in as well.

Not all of the gags work and it’s not quite as clever as

Brides­maids, but it’s still a good ef­fort by di­rec­tor Lu­cia Aniello, who co-wrote the script with her Broad City part­ner Paul W

Downs.

He also plays Jess’ overly sen­si­tive fi­ance, Peter, who sets off on an amus­ing ‘‘sad as­tro­naut’’ jour­ney to save his wed­ding.

The con­trast­ing shots of his tame wine-tast­ing bach­e­lor party with Jess’ coke-fu­elled hen’s night are a par­tic­u­lar high­light, cheek­ily mock­ing the usual gen­der stereo­types.

Ty Bur­rell and Demi Moore are an­other pleas­ant sur­prise as sleazy, swinger neigh­bours, but the fo­cus here is clearly on the girl gang, which works for the most part.

Jo­hans­son holds her own, and Bell is a stand­out, de­liv­er­ing many of the film’s best lines.

Then there’s the deliri­ous magic of McKin­non, who pulls off a de­cent Aussie ac­cent and even throws in a few Kiwi jokes.

The laugh-out-loud mo­ments are fre­quent enough and they keep the mo­men­tum go­ing when the sto­ry­line starts to fal­ter.

Flaws aside, it’s a fun, fe­maledriven film about fe­male friend­ships, which is still a rel­a­tively rare thing in Hol­ly­wood. - Christina Kuntz

Rough Night’s laugh-out-loud mo­ments are fre­quent enough and keep the mo­men­tum go­ing when the sto­ry­line starts to fal­ter.

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