review by Leigh Paatsch three stars
Demi Moore makes a sexy return to the big screen in Rough Night, starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zo� Kravitz.
Director: Lucia Aniello (feature debut)
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Zoë Kravitz.
Rating: three stars
Verdict: An innocent evening ends in many guilty parties
SOME are saying (or is that hoping?) that this raunchy female-driven comedy will be the next Bridesmaids.
While that won’t be prove to be the case, sharp writing and busy pacing ensures Rough Night effortlessly appeals to more viewers than it appals.
Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz play former college friends reuniting after a decade apart for a bachelorette weekend in Miami.
After a big evening out, the group hire a male stripper who accidentally dies before he can get his gear off. Which means the girls (Johansson’s prim’n’proper bride-to-be is running for political office) have until sunrise to both get rid of the corpse, and cover their tracks.
The screenplay for Rough Night became the subject of an intense bidding war at the end of 2015, largely due to its easy-to-digest pitch as a female-skewing hybrid of The Hangover (2009) and Weekend At Bernie’s (1989).
This very simple premise translates easily to the big screen, even if the film as a whole amounts to not much more than a regimented collection of set-piece gag sequences separated by lots of irrelevant verbal interplay.
Saturday Night Live regular McKinnon (playing a ditzy Australian) and Glazer (barely tweaking her role on TV’s brilliant Broad City) are both in very funny form here, while Johansson (exhibiting solid skills as a comic straightwoman) and Kravitz (destined for better things after this) also rack up a fair score of laughs.
A shame then so much of the movie is hogged by Bell, whose needy-smutty act gets old very quickly.
While a secondary subplot involving a spectacularly sedate bachelor party happening at the same time proves to be a bit of a fizzer, some other minor mixed business (including some hilariously sleazy interruptions to events by Ty Burrell and Demi Moore as the swinger couple next door) more than pays its way.
Originally published as All-female comedy appeals not appals