No cat fight in this divas’ battle
EVERY now and then, the Hollywood machine spits out two movies that have the same premise and themes, and then dares us to compare and contrast the two. They did it with 1997’s “Dante Peak” and “Volcano”, 1998’s “Deep Impact” and “Armageddon”, 2013’s “Olympus Has Fallen” and “White House Down”, and most “Girl’s Trip” and “Rough Night”.
The last pair is the subject of this week’s review.
In both movies, a group of college friends try to reconnect after finding that life in the real world is tougher than they expected.
In “Rough Night”, the unifying factor is Jess (Scarlett Johansson), a senatorial candidate about to get married to Peter (Paul W Downs).
Her friends Alice (Jillian Bell), Frankie (Illana Glazer), Blair (Zoe Kravitz) and Pippa (Kate Mckinnon), whom she met during a semester in Australia, decide to throw her a bachelorette party in Miami.
The five party, drink and try to relive their youth, but a classic case of mistaken identity, the glitter of diamonds and some old wounds lead to a night of mayhem and laughs.
In “Girls Trip” a group of lifelong friends called The Flossy Possey decide to meet in New Orleans for the Essence Music Festival.
Ryan Pierce (Regina Hall), a successful self-help author invites her friends when she is selected to be the festical keynote speaker.
Her friends — Sasha Franklin (Queen Latifah), Lisa Cooper (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and Dina (Tiffany Haddish) — jump at the offer as each hopes to forget their troubled and miserable lives for a weekend.
While both films have their own merits, I have to give it to “Girls Trip”.
“Rough Night” is too cliché, the plot too simple and wasted the talents of “Saturday Night Live” alumnus McKinnon.
Scarlett Johansson is no leading lady in comedy and puts in a pedestrian performance as Jess.
“Girls Trip” checks all right boxes.
Haddish (Dina) is by far the funniest of all the ladies and is given ample material to shine. Her gags revolve around trying to get everyone drunk, fighting men and embarrassing herself all in the name of fun.
On the Box-office, “Girls Trip” has done better, amassing US$136 million from a US$20 million budget. In contrast, “Rough Night” — since June release — has earned US$47million from a budget of about US$20 million.
In “Girls Trip”, the characters are better-rounded and (I may never say this again), Jada Pinkett-Smith did a great job.
I single her out because she is the least experienced of the four main actors in comedy.
“Rough Night’s” plot lacks depth and Johansson is not funny, while Bell and McKinnon deserved more material.
Illana Glazer needed more to work with, as evidenced by her TV series “Broad City”.