Which is why the film is rightly branding itself as a fresh and feminist take on what actually comprises little more than a collection of hackneyed, if still guffaw-worthy tropes. Slowly breaking down the only just acceptable model of the careers woman, writers Lucio Aniello and Paul W. Downs delve into the past of immaculate potential state senator Jess (Scarlett Johansson) to observe her frat-party-throwing, beer-pong-owning heyday. Jess’ bachelorette party becomes a liberating and unladylike female Hangover Part IV, which ends just as catastrophically when a mandatory stripper episode descends into involuntary manslaughter.
That plot-defining detail poses a major draw-back to Aniello’s empowering message. We should question the film’s ostensible readiness to kill off a sex worker and the welt of cheap gags that ensue from then on. Making things better and worse, Aniello is filching, once again, from elsewhere. Back in 1998 Peter Berg’s black comedy Very Bad Things arranged the accidental death of Cameron Diaz as a prostitute and was branded ‘reprehensible’ from the first. We shouldn’t let Rough Night off too easily either.
Having got all that out of the way, the gender switch is important. Women behaving badly is (at long last) no longer uncharted territory: Paul Feig did it gloriously with Bridesmaids in 2011 and Jake Kasdan less than gloriously for Bad Teacher that same year. What is refreshing to see is a female comedy at the hand of an actually female director, and Aniello has mustered an undeniably hilarious cast. Migrating from the hugely successful Comedy Central series Broad City to reunite with matching co-writers Aniello and Downs is star of that show Ilana Glazer. Johansson’s Saturday Night Live co-star Kate McKinnon appears with inexplicable Australian accent, with Zoë Kravitz and Jillian Bell completing the five-strong girl group.
It looks like Rough Night may struggle to fill the weighty heels of either Bridesmaids or Broad City but it’s exciting to see another try. And, realistically, worth a watch just for Glazer… Rough Night is out in the UK on 25 August.
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
25 Aug 17 – 30 Sep 17, 8:00 AM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more information|