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‘Rough Night’ is a rough hour and 40 minutes

Andy Moser

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Apparently Rough Night was a warning for what audiences would experience going to see this one.

It has promise. It has star power. It has a shimmering surface. But underneath is a laughless plot that seems to drag on forever. Viewers who decide to go see it can expect to be mercilessly beaten over the head by one ridiculous twist after another.

That is, except for the first half hour, which is actually quite hilarious and brings the best out of its stars. Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Zoë Kravitz, and the incomparable Kate McKinnon, all have their moments showing how funny the movie could have been. This just makes the tedious last hour and ten minutes all the more heartbreaking.

Jess (Johansson) and her friends travel to Miami for her bachelorette party. Everybody is having fun partying, snorting cocaine, and dancing to “My Neck My Back,” until the girls decide to get Jess a stripper. Alice (Bell) decides to try and jump on the stripper’s lap, and unfortunately for him, she can’t stick the landing and accidentally kills him. The girls then spend the remainder of the film figuring out how to hide the body, unwilling to admit to the crime.

After the first punch, director Lucia Aniello proceeds to overcrowd her talented cast with a multitude of outrageous developments and what remains consists of dull gags, continuity errors where cars magically appear in driveways, and major plot points that have been completely forgotten and left for dead.

Blair’s (Kravitz) custody battle over her son tries to inject some sensitivity into the story, but Rough Nights overall atmosphere makes this emotional bait impossible to want to take. Any attempt to make the audience care about what happens to these characters is made in vain, creating yet another one-dimensional comedy in a world filled by them.

It got to the point where some people in the theater actually walked out early, and the one who was left was asleep.  

The cast does a great job with what they’re given, but in the end, their abilities mostly go unutilized. This is especially true for McKinnon, whose years on Saturday Night Live have exhibited her dynamic comedic skill set that could have lent itself to this film when it needed it most. Still, she owns some of its best moments, and her future in movies is much brighter than this one suggests.

Rough Night’s 1.5 sails are earned almost entirely by its first half hour. Jokes hit hard, and Aniello provides a great environment for them to have their full impact. However, slowly but surely, it all falls apart as the script leaves the cast stranded with a dead guy who at least got to tune out for the back half.

Sails: 1.5/5

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‘Rough Night’ is a rough hour and 40 minutes