Hollywood shat out some dull comedies this year with Fist Fight, CHiPS, Snatched and Baywatch. Thank goodness director Lucia Aniello (Broad City) made her feature debut, delivering a solid laugh machine centred on five friends reuniting at a bachelorette party.
They haven’t let loose in a decade, but when they do, it results in someone dying. Scarlett Johansson proves a great comedic straight woman as the bride-to-be. The always-funny Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street, The Night Before) gets the co-lead role she deserves as the self-anointed BFF. Kate McKinnon does her usual mix of quick quips and funny faces at half the speed of SNL. (She also sports a good Ozzie accent 90% of the time, though goofs on the other 10%.) With all that Broad City experience, Aniello knows exactly when to snap Ilana Glazer out and pull her back in like a comically sharpened Swiss Army Knife. Zoë Kravitz feels watered down in comparison, but her character’s shamelessly high maintenance ways still earn some chuckles.
It’s a shame the actual storytelling couldn’t have been better. The film spends a lot of time pulling the ‘How are they going to get out of this?’ card only to tear it up when the script throws out a number of convenient coincidences to solve their problems. At a certain point, the film stops pushing the plot forward and instead repeatedly throws it like a boomerang. At that stage, nothing really progresses and there aren’t enough jokes to pick up the slack. If you feel the film dragging in the mid-section, this is why.
But this only holds a good comedy back from being a great one. With lines that don’t feel like half-assed improv and R-rated humour that isn’t just crass for crassness’s sake, Rough Night is the tequila shot you won’t painfully regret in the morning.