What do “Bridesmaids,” “The Hangover,” “Weekend at Bernie’s,” and “Very Bad Things” all have in common? The new dark comedy “Rough Night” pays homage to all of them… Maybe a little too much.
The engaged and overworked Jess (Scarlett Johansson) reluctantly goes to Miami when her estranged friends host her bachelorette party. We’re then introduced to the eccentric Australian native Pippa (Kate McKinnon), overly dependent Alice (Jillian Bell), social justice warrior Frankie (Illana Glazer), and wealthy single mom Blair (Zoe Kravitz).
The party begins as a cliched party we’ve seen several times as characters snort coke, get drunk, and have a botched dance number. When they head home and order a stripper, things escalate to a dark level after Alice accidentally kills the stripper in morbid fashion. What now?!
“Rough Night” didn’t have the best trailer and I only saw it to get out of the house. “Rough Night” consists of a standard first act, hilarious second act, and an implausible final act. It benefits thanks to the cast’s performances. At least it’s better than the trailer.
Johansson has surprisingly sharp comedic delivery (I want to say it’s her first comedy) as the straight-faced Jess. Her deadpan delivery matches McKinnon and Bell’s absurd banters. McKinnon steals every scene with her impeccable improvising and perfectly timed expressions. Bell, Kravitz, and Glazer were hit and miss for me, but when they hit, I laughed hard.
Demi Moore and Ty Burrell steal one scene as married swingers trying to seduce the protagonists. It begins as a typical crude sexual situation, becomes uncomfortable, then ends in a darkly funny punch line.
The writers take the greatest chances in the second act. Whether we’re watching a character hustle meth for gas money, characters hide a dead body on a swing, or take a pizza break after cleaning their crime scene, I was impressed with how far “Rough Night” went.
The final act kills the movie with its implausible and disappointing ending. The characters walk free thanks to a good Samaritan law that likely exists for movie logic. I would have preferred the writers to keep their mean streak and have the characters’ fates go a darker direction, but most movie-goers prefer the happy ending.
Despite the disappointing conclusion, I’m happy to see a comedy take chances. Especially considering I’m still getting over “Baywatch.”