Rough Night is inconsistent in both tone and genre, but when it finds its pace, it becomes something worthwhile.
When Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is about to get married, her best friends from college (Jillian Bell, Kate McKinnon, Ilana Glazer, and Zoë Kravitz) plan a crazy bachelorette party weekend for her in Miami. In the middle of their celebration, the stripper is accidentally killed. Rough Night is directed by Broad City writer, director, and producer Lucia Aniello, and is co-written by Aniello and Paul W. Downs, who also co-stars as Jess’ fiancé.
Within an absurdly amazing cast, despite all of its flaws, Rough Night is still an enjoyable movie. It may not be consistently funny, but any movie with even just Kate McKinnon is guaranteed to produce some laughs.
As often happens, the best jokes were revealed in the trailers. At least those jokes were funny enough that it was not annoying to see them repeated in context. These trailers only revealed the first act of the movie, and for a good reason.
The second act is the friends struggling to figure out what to do with the stripper’s body. While this is amusing at first, it becomes tedious. Rough Night is bogged down by the serious subject matter, and does not effectively produce humor during the second act. There are a few chuckles, but no uproarious hilarity.
Eventually, the humor stops and Rough Night veers into a drama. The stress from the night has caused all the friends to air their grievances, turning into an argument that is just mean and completely unfunny. This is especially problematic because the characters are woefully underdeveloped.
Each character is really just a quirky sketch. They are interesting enough to warrant a movie, but not real enough to ask the audience to care. Tension builds in the relationship between the friends, so it is clear some fight is going to ensue. However, this fight is the only time in the film where the characters are treated like multi-dimensional people. This hurts the flow of the movie and feels out of place.
Thankfully, Rough Night redeems itself in the third act. Scarlett Johansson gets a more kick ass action scene than anything she has been given in the Marvel movies, proving once again that it is insane that there is not a Black Widow movie yet. Outside of this, there are enough humorous twists and turns that bring energy back into the film.
During the regrettable second act, it is unfortunate that in a female-driven comedy, the funniest scenes are given to the men. As the bachelorette party becomes tedious, the scenes at the bachelor party are a refreshing change.
Overall, Rough Night is an enjoyable experience. It is not consistently funny, but the moments that are comedic are relatively worthwhile. It really is great seeing a female-led R-rated comedy directed by a woman. None of the humor is new or innovative, but at least Rough Night picks strong tropes to follow, even if they are overdone.