Plot: Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is going to be married soon, so her friends from college are taking her on a weekend of partying and relaxation. Jess was super close with Alice (Jillian Bell), Blair (Zoe Kravitz), and Frankie (Ilana Glazer) all throughout college, then met Pippa (Kate McKinnon) during a semester abroad. Of course, life intervened and the girls went in their own different directions, but the bond remains strong and this reunion promises to be a memorable one. Alice has planned some wild fun in Miami, but once the girls arrive and start to party it up, Frankie takes things up a notch and scores some cocaine. Riding a white gold high, the girls head back to their beach house and await the arrival of a stripper they found on Craigslist. But when Alice gets a little too rough with the stripper and accidentally kills him, it looks like the weekend might not turn out as expected…
Entertainment Value: Rough Night tries ever so hard to be a pitch black, outrageous comedy that pushes the envelope, but it seems scared to go for the jugular and in the end, comes off as a neutered experience. If you’re going to load your characters up on cocaine and have them kill a male prostitute, why not shoot for the moon and take the movie to some outlandish places, right? Instead, Rough Night keeps pulling things back and wants to make sure all the pieces line up for that bright, cheery conclusion, which is in stark contrast to what I wanted. I just wanted things to spiral into the abyss, due in part to how unlikable most of these characters are. The girls are petty and cruel to each other, which could have worked if there was good chemistry in the group, but there’s not even a drop of that here. The girls backing her up do passable work, but Scarlett Johansson seems miscast, as she shows no comedic flair and drags down scenes, only to have her costars come to her rescue. Some of the dark humor works, but most of it feels like a child spouting curses to seem cool. I love the premise, but this has been done before and much better, such as in Very Bad Things. If you’re going to go dark, do it right and instead, Rough Night just wants to shock us a little before it limps to a typical Hollywood finish line. I wanted to like this one, as I love dark comedies, but it is just not that funny or memorable. Skip.
No nakedness. A lot of sex talk, strippers, and swingers, but the movie refuses to indulge in any visual sleaze. I can kind of understand why, since this seems aimed at a mostly female audience, but I think the movie could have gone a little more extreme given the dark premise involved. A little blood, but not much. When the girls kill the stripper, there’s a small pool of blood, but it isn’t graphic and to be honest, I don’t think there’s even a point’s worth of the crimson. The dialogue is inconsistent, but some fun lines do sneak in here and there. A lot of sex talk and mean girl exchanges, but there’s not much creative punch to the writing. It comes off like someone who thinks just cursing or saying tampon is enough to get shock value, when instead it just feels like a sad attempt to give edge to a dull script. But some solid lines are present, mostly from Jillian Bell, who turns in the best work from the cast. In terms of craziness, this one starts off with some promise, but quickly deescalates and is content to be quirky, but not dark. I really hoped this one would just spiral into outlandish chaos, but it refuses to let anything bad happen to these unlikable characters. Whenever things look to take a darker turn, a magical twist ensures everyone will live happily ever after.
Overall Insanity: 1/10