I watch at least five movies a week, and as I was walking into the screening for this at a local theatre, the security guard said, “Rough Night?”
Now, having just come from the racquetball courts and having messed up hair, I started to explain my unkempt look, before realizing that he was referring to the name of the movie. It sounds odd, but a lot of times you go into the movie not knowing what it is you’re seeing. But upon leaving the movie later in the evening, it felt like a rough night having to sit through it. It’s yet another movie where Hollywood can praise themselves saying, “See…we can have women make raunchy movies like the Hangover, too.”
Yeah, yeah, we know. This is like Bridesmaids, Bad Moms, Trainwreck, etc. All movies with female leads, involved in the same drunken debauchery the men do. But realize this, Hollywood. Critics make fun of the movies the men do when they’re not very good, and that’s going to be the same thing here. Even if the writer/director (Lucia Aniello) is female. And it’s a shame, because as director/writer of Broad City, her work was solid.
This story involves four friends that aren’t quite as close as they were in college 10 years ago. But now Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is getting married, so they’re back together for a bachelorette weekend. Since Jess is a straight-laced politician in the middle of a run for office, things won’t get too crazy, will they?
The friends include Blair, played by the always attractive Zoe Kravitz (I think she has a famous father). She used to be in a relationship with Frankie (Ilana Glazer), who is now an activist. Blair is currently involved in a custody battle that is shown to us in the stupidest way imaginable (the ex complaining about 20 minutes extra she had with their child). There’s a woman from Australia named Pippa (Kate McKinnon of Saturday Night Live, who I think is the first one called when one of these dumb movies is being made). She has some fun with the accent, and has a few funny lines (“Everybody in America really does have a gun!”). More often than not, this lazy comedy just relies on the fact that she talks different to muster laughs.
Jillian Bell (Workaholics) always cracks me up in every movie she’s in (22 Jump Street, Office Christmas Party). In this, she plays a pathetic, jealous friend. Since she immediately hates Pippa, it makes us just feel she’s pathetic.
As you know from the trailers, an accident occurs in which the male stripper is killed. That means the movie, instead of just trying to be the female Hangover, has to become the female Weekend at Bernie’s. The women have to decide how to get rid of the body because…we all know that calling the cops and just saying the guy fell down would mean you don’t have a movie.
Obviously, there are a few funny scenes. You can’t do a two hour movie with hundreds of jokes and not have some of them land. What’s amazing is that so many of them don’t. For example, Demi Moore is on all the talk shows promoting this movie. She plays a neighbor married to Ty Burrell (Modern Family). They’re swingers that keep trying to get these women to have sex with them. There’s nothing funny about it. Well, okay…I did chuckle at one of their sex scenes. But so much of the movie is just trying to shock us. For example, we hear the Khia song “My Neck, my Back.” For those that aren’t familiar with the lyrics, they basically talk about all the areas you’re supposed to lick this woman. The girls do a dance routine to it with a lot of ass slapping that…is basically two minutes of unfunny.
Even a scene where we see all the toys and novelty items at the bachelorette party — all with penises — would be amusing if we hadn’t seen that type of scene before.
There’s a scene where the women all snort cocaine, and it’s not the least bit funny. In fact, I hate the fact that I had to become one of those people that thought…isn’t this glorifying drug use? When so many films get criticized for smoking, I couldn’t help think that with the coke. Now if it adds to the humor, I don’t care. For example, when they decide to call the cops about the body, they talk about how they should get rid of the drugs first. That means Jillian Bell dives head first into the pile of coke to snort it all away. When she gets berated by the group, she basically asks how they should get rid of the drugs, with white powder on her face. That was amusing. Again though, I have to be that older guy that sits back and has one of these thoughts that’s a total buzz kill. Why is it the heavier woman of the group always has to be the buffoon? We saw this in Amy Schumer’s Snatched. We saw this with Rebel Wilson in Pitch Perfect and a few other movies, and about 75% of what Melissa McCarthy does. Just having the fat character be the patsy doesn’t equal comedy, and…isn’t that rather insulting?
Another amusing scene involves fiance Peter (Paul W. Downs, who co-wrote the script). His bachelor party involves a wine tasting. The extent of their craziness involves a red that’s actually chilled. Yet once he starts to drive to Miami to get his fiance back (I won’t explain why he thinks he lost her. It’s just too stupid), that story arc gets stupid.
If you want to see a terrific comedy starring a woman, directed by a woman, written by a woman…go find the indie picture Band Aid. It’s one of the funniest movies of the year.
This gets 2 stars out of 5.