REVIEW: Good Cast Doesn’t Save Clichéd Comedy ‘Rough Night’

It’s always surprising when a movie comes along boasting plenty of talent that ultimately disappoints. “Rough Night” is a picture that falls into that category.

The film revolves around the character Jess (Scarlett Johansson) and her group of friends who are reuniting after quite some time. Friends since their days in college, the group decides to go to Miami for a bachelorette party for Jess, whose wedding day is close by.

While their party does get somewhat crazy, all seems to be going relatively well. That is until a male stripper whom they’ve hired ends up getting killed by way of an accident. As a result, the friends begin panicking and start trying to figure out how they can get out of the situation.

“Rough Night” is just a basket of clichés from start to finish. Most of the film’s first act has pretty standard ‘party movie’ stuff, from the main characters walking in slow motion to taking drugs and excessive drinking to crazy dance routines. Everything that’s featured is just rehashed sequences that are all too familiar. Additionally, the film’s premise that picks up in the second and third acts has been pointed out as being similar to a 1998 picture titled “Very Bad Things.”

While the fact that there’s nothing particular new here that sets it above other comedies is a detriment, a bigger issue in this flick comes from the characters. They’re all pretty much caricatures, Jess being the by-the-books one, another being the free-spirit one, etc. But on top of that, there was very little sense of camaraderie featured between the characters, even though they were supposed to be the best of friends.

There simply wasn’t much chemistry on screen between these performers. While the writing is obviously important in comedies, the chemistry between performers in a movie very much about friendship or a group is very valuable. “The Hangover” from 2009 and “Keanu” from 2016 both worked better than “Rough Night” thanks to how well the actors worked together. Even last year’s “Ghostbusters,” which was a relatively average picture, had performers with better chemistry than this.

At the end of the day, though, the real goal of any comedy should at least be to make an audience laugh and this flick just didn’t do that for me. The writing, once again, simply wasn’t funny and other attempts at humor was just for shock laughs. Plus, there’s a completely unfunny subplot in the movie with Jess’ fiancé, played by Paul Downs.

This is a movie that should work but it just didn’t come together very well. As a result, I didn’t laugh and subsequently I can’t recommend this for really any reason. 1 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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