Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Review: “Rough Night” is A Vulgar Mishap for Stars Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Demi Moore


It’s easy to say this or that movie is the worst you’ve ever seen. But Sony’s “Rough Night,” which opens Friday, has really earned that distinction at least for 2017. The director, Lucia Aniello, has misunderstood “The Hangover” movies, tried to add a screeching version of “Bridesmaids,” and come up with a fresh torture. The whole thing is a trainwreck, but unfortunately it’s not “Trainwreck.”

Scarlett Johansson’s reps must seriously be questioned about why they let her participate in this drivel. Kate McKinnon– who for me can do no wrong– speaks with a bad Australian accent throughout the film. Again, was there no advice given these women? Jillian Bell plays a cut rate combo of Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson, beautiful Zoe Kravitz is belittled, Ilona Glazer is just bad.

These women play unlikely friends who take Johansson’s character to a Miami mansion for a bachelorette weekend. Scarlett is also running for State Senate at home. So she’s got two stock plots running at once, neither believable.

And then there are the “guest stars”: Demi Moore and Ty Burrell of “Modern Family.” Their cliche, stock characters of an oversexed couple who live next door not only are unfunny, they are also shot as badly as they could be. Moore, one of my favorite people, looks ghastly. I was relieved to see her shining on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight show when I got home from the screening. She should sue the director of photography.

Of course, maybe I’m making too much of how truly awful this slab of glob is. But get this– the ladies hire a stripper who comes to the house and is killed by them moments later for no reason. It’s an accident. Bell jumps him, he hits his head on the marble floor, and expires. Unrepentant, the women then attempt a “Weekend at Bernie’s” scenario. Instead of calling the police, they try to hide him. He’s strapped into a “Fifty Shades” type sex chair with a plastic penis placed on his nose. Oh it’s hilarious.

The women’s lack of reasoning can be attributed to them ‘doing cocaine.’ Yes, these are adults, they don’t look like drug addicts, it’s 2017 and they are not young enough to be this stupid. Yet there they are– and I love how they kept saying ‘cocaine’– never, ever coke because that would violate a trademark. LOL. Later, they do meth — yes, meth. It’s mindboggling. And Kravitz’s character is forced to participate in a threesome with Moore and Burrell, taking one for the group.

The screenplay, if you could call it that, is by someone named Paul Downs, who wrote it with Aniello. Downs also plays Johansson’s fiancee, and his acting skills are somewhere below Lifetime Movie Channel. Again, why this Oscar nominee and Tony winner’s people agreed to this crap is beyond my understanding. But Downs has stuffed his screenplay with so many coarse and vulgar references that they backfire almost immediately. You just want all these people to shut up as quickly as possible.

Funny side note: while all the exteriors were shot in Miami, the actual house that was used was a modern mansion in Southampton, New York. The movie is so cheap that you never see the characters leave the house, or in Miami. I don’t know why Miami had anything do with it, unless it was a tax break. The IRS should look into that.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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