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