“Rough Night” follows a group of college friends who reunite 10 years later for a bachelorette party, only to have things go wrong when they accidently kill a stripper. Scarlett Johansson, Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell and Ilana Glazer star as Lucia Aniello directs.
I was slightly intrigued by this film. The trailers weren’t anything great (my theater was dead silent when it played before “The Mummy”) but the premise seemed amusing, if not familiar, and the cast was appealing. And while the film isn’t as rough an outing as it could have been, the actors can only do so much to save it from being overly scattershot.
I’ll start with the cast as most of them are entertaining. It’s always fun to see Scarlett Johansson in a lighter role (after her blah turns in “Lucy” and “Ghost in the Shell”) and she is by far the biggest name on the poster here. Zoë Kravitz seems to be having the most fun and I really enjoyed her presence and chemistry with Ilana Glazer, and Paul W. Downs (who co-produced and co-wrote the film with Aniello, his real life girlfriend) has a few funny scenes as Johansson’s fiancé, too. However Gazer, Bell and McKinnon are all varying degrees of mixed bags, often going one note and either not taking a joke far enough or letting it go on for too long, and McKinnon has become a caricature of herself, here sporting an Australian accent.
And that is one of the film’s biggest problems, is as both a writer and director Aniello doesn’t seem to know how to deliver a punchline. Characters’ voice inflections or the amount of time a pause lasts just seem off, and it feels that there were a lot of missed opportunities for some great material and punchlines.
The film goes by at a nice enough pace, even if it feels a little longer than its 101 minute runtime, and there are a few twists near the end that I did find enjoyable; this is far from a bad film.
Normally I am pretty liberal with grading comedies. If I laugh then I tend to give a film a passing grade; after all, that’s the point of a comedy. And while I chuckled here or there and had one laugh-out-loud moment, I never really was finding things funny, and it goes back to the almost annoying feeling of there being jokes seemingly left on the table.
“Rough Night” is a watchable enough summer flick but it isn’t too funny and at the end of the day that’s what you judge a comedy off of. The cast is dedicated and attractive and there are moments of amusement throughout, but it all just feels like an undercooked idea that could have been a great black comedy, but settles for being a meh “Hangover” wannabe.
Critics Rating: 4/10