‘Rough Night’ stars forgot to pack the funny
One day Kate McKinnon, national treasure that she is, will get the movie her considerable talents deserve. Because Rough
Night ain’t it. With an ensemble led by McKinnon and Scarlett Johansson, Rough
Night ( out of four; rated R; in theaters nationwide Friday) is the fuzzy metal handcuffs of raunchy comedies: At times it feels like a good thing, but way too often reminds you that you’re trapped for an hour and a half.
The feature debut for director Lucia Aniello ( Broad City) gives Hollywood a new voice for big-screen laughs with a film full of bachelorettes behaving badly. But it’s hampered by flimsy characters, a fitfully funny plot and derivative gags pulled from the Very Bad Things and
Weekend at Bernie’s playbooks. Up-and-coming politician Jess (Johansson) travels to Miami for a party-hearty prewedding weekend with her college friends: high-strung Alice (Jillian Bell), socialite Blair (Zoë Kravitz) and activist Frankie (Ilana Glazer). They meet up with Pippa (McKinnon), Jess’ pal from Australia, and the eventful evening goes from cocaine and club dancing to a stripper (Ryan Murray) dying at their borrowed beach house.
Rough Night offers an amusing gender-bending of the welltrodden bachelor weekend trope: While the women are whooping it up, their male counterparts back home are at a subdued wine tasting.
What makes similar movies work are the strong personalities you organically invest in, and that’s one of Rough Night’s weaker aspects: None of the main characters is very likable.
Only McKinnon’s kooky Aussie is a cut above, mostly because she gives her all with rubber-faced physical comedy and a goofball spirit. Yet there’s nothing McKinnon can do about the movie’s huge tonal problems. Two incidences, including the aforementioned death, are so tonally jarring they bring any fun to a screeching halt — like someone forgot that whole “comedy” part of a dark comedy.
Some day McKinnon will get that great picture, but this
Night’s not one to remember.
Pippa (Kate McKinnon) and Jess (Scarlett Johansson) find mayhem in Rough Night.