The Hangover with women. That’s probably how the studio pitched the idea to the cast. The Hangover, the first one at least, was a hit so taking that premise and adding a recognizable leading lady with a few established comedic actors should be enough to make a worthwhile comedy. At least in theory.
Rough Night stars Scarlett Johansson as Jess, an aspiring congresswoman who decides to reunite with her college friends for her bachelorette party. Joining her in Miami is her clingy best friend Alice (Jillian Bell), snooty divorcee Blair (Zoe Kravitz), lesbian activist Frankie (Ilana Glazer), and Aussie Pippa (Kate McKinnon). Things go haywire when Alice accidentally kills a male stripper, sending the group into a wild night of mass panic and a few odd twists that could’ve all been solved with a simple ‘911’ call.
What starts off as a pretty basic story really goes all over the place as the story goes along. And not in the ‘so random its hilarious’ way, but in the ‘why is all of this happening’ way. Several running jokes, like Ty Burrell and Demi Moore cameoing as an over-sexed couple trying to woo Kravitz’s Blair into a threesome, get old real quick. Others that start off relatively funny, Paul W. Downs as Jess’ fiancé who has a group of boring friends, go off on tangents that ruin aspects that might’ve been great.
As a result, Rough Night seems muddled and lacks comedic wit. Jillian Bell and Kate McKinnon do their very best to occasionally inject life into the flat tone, but they can only do so much. Even with decent chemistry between the cast and a few partially endearing moments, this movie is far too much of a mess to fully enjoy.
FINAL GRADE: D