by Paislee House, Film Critic
The modern comedy film has become a jumble of improvised pieces glued together in post-production and “Rough Night” is no exception. Though the story feels cut and paste, “Rough Night” is funny. A film starring women, directed by a woman (Lucia Aniello), and written by two young comedians has much to celebrate. Despite its faults, “Rough Night” provides a women-centric, sex positive comedy full of lewd jokes.
Not unlike other big budget comedy films, “Rough Night” has a predictable, unengaging plot that isn’t offering anything groundbreaking. The movie follows a group of five friends during a bachelorette party in Miami. There’s sex, drugs and plenty of raunchy humor akin to movies like “Bridesmaids” or “The Hangover.” However, these movies can never be all fun and games, so something terrible inevitably happens sending the characters into a panicked frenzy.
Luckily, the lackluster story gets help from a cast of hilarious women. “Rough Night” stars Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Kate McKinnon, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz who all excel at delivering humorous lines with great comedic timing especially the talented Kate McKinnon who rocks an Australian accent for the duration of the film.
One of the more original aspects of “Rough Night” is its queer storyline that both supports and adds depth to the film’s unoriginal plot. Of the five friends, two have a romantic past that is both refreshing to see on screen and believable. Featuring a queer story is not only fun to see on screen, it is evidence that the people who wrote the movie— Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs— are smart enough to incorporate inclusive characters and story components without being offensive or inauthentic. Plus, the stereotypical gender elements of the film are completely flipped. “Rough Night” is about female friends having a good time partying the weekend away while the bride-to-be’s fiancé is busy having an extremely subdued bachelor party consisting of wine tasting and soft cheeses.
In “Rough Night” we get to see females let loose, make mistakes and joke about things like vibrators and tampons. I think it is fair to say that the party-gone-wrong style of comedy has gotten old, but if they must exist at least this one takes a refreshing gender reversed approach.
Given that comedies are made to make people laugh and not necessarily be high cinema, “Rough Night” is a fun, refreshing entry into the contemporary comedy genre. Though the story isn’t great, it still manages to throw in high-quality jokes that are genuinely funny. Besides “Rough Night” is a studio-backed, R-rated comedy directed by a woman and there aren’t many of those. If you want a good laugh featuring sex-positive comedy delivered by a cast of females then “Rough Night” is exactly what you’re looking for.