Rough Night (2017) – Film Review

“While this film isn’t a total loss—the ending wraps everything up nicely and does with the characters what should’ve been done for about two-thirds of the film—it’s not what I expected. Or wanted.”

I didn’t laugh out loud once during this movie. A few chuckles, but nothing serious.

Walking in, I expected—as was advertised in the trailer—a Weekend At Bernie’s-style comedy. Walking out…well, that’s a different story. I’ll include a link to the trailer below, and also to a video uploaded by heavy-weight YouTube reviewer and trusted source, Chris Stuckmann, on the very real problem of falsely-advertising a film. For now, though, let’s get into this movie…

With all the yelling, unnecessary and in-your-face cultural criticisms, and eye-roll references, it was hard for me to focus on the movie, itself. Along with clunky, heavy-handed exposition and equally-nonsensical “remember when” dialogue moments, a lot of the ““humor”” (yes, the double-quotes are on-purpose) didn’t land. I honestly felt like I was listening to dialogue written by sexually-frustrated teenaged boys—full of genital puns and gross-out language and situations. Grown women would not act like this in this situation…at least, I would hope not; as soon as it hit the fan, they’d mature up and figure things out. However, for the sake of hijinks (and extending this film’s runtime into “check my watch” territory), the filmmakers saw fit to have them do exactly the opposite.

The only one of the bunch that made the thing watchable is Kate McKinnon. Her on-off Aussie accent—which, knowing her and the characters she usually plays, I’d like to think is on purpose and for effect—is really out there. Even in other scenes where she’s not the focal point, though, she’s still an entertaining spectacle, and is very physical in her performance. Scarlett Johansson let a little too much of her Black Widow side show in this, which hurt the film a bit, towards the end. Everyone else was either stiff in their delivery, outright obnoxious, or a cliché. Other A-listers are thrown into the mix nonchalantly and so often that it becomes just another eye-roll opportunity, even before the midway point.

As I said, there’s a lot of forced exposition here. The introduction at the beginning is unnecessary—we get it, these women have known each other forever, and we get enough of a feel for that from the fact that they all make up the bridal entourage. No need to re-hash the obvious. Even more distressing are the breaks in the narrative flow to have a “Remember when we [insert stereotypical college girl thing here]?” moment, that acts as sloppy character-building of both the clunky and confusing kind. Good filmmakers build their characters through interactions and subtle cues, making them familiar to one another and to the audience naturally, not like actors spouting lines at a table-read. Even in the softer scenes, I feel no need or desire to connect to any of these people…except Kate McKinnon’s character.

While this film isn’t a total loss—the ending wraps everything up nicely and does with the characters what should’ve been done for about two-thirds of the film—it’s not what I expected. Or wanted. This should not have been a murder mystery-slash-crime caper, but that’s what it, essentially, is. I didn’t laugh, I didn’t tear up. What I wanted was to get up and leave…but that wouldn’t’ve been fair to you guys.

Final ‘Risk Assessment: **/***.

LINK: Rough Night – Trailer

LINK: “It Comes At Night – The Dangers of Misleading Marketing” by Chris Stuckmann

Next review: Dunkirk (2017; Jul. 21st)

Written by Evan Kern

Just a twenty-something filmie trudging through adulthood. Taking it day by day, movie by movie. Words are life...

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