R Dir: Lucia Aniello | Sony | 1h 41min
Plot: What’s it about?
The summer of 2017 has been officially labeled the worst in over a decade. There were several big budget films that simply failed to bring in the big bucks. Some of them were solid, but there were many that disappointed both critics and audiences. While I admit that I had little hope for Rough Night as far as quality goes, I still thought it’d be a hit, especially with the female crowd. The final domestic gross was more than a little disappointing, especially with the talented cast on display. I’m assuming the studio was expecting Bridesmaids style numbers, but that was not the case. Instead, Rough Night stumbled early on. Overall, the film is something of a mixed bag, but I still think it deserves a look.
If you hear the synopsis of 5 friends on a bachelorette and one of them accidentally kills the stripper, it might sound vaguely familiar. There was a very dark comedy, Very Bad Things from ’98 that featured nearly the exact same setup. That film involved five male friends, whereas Night features 5 female friends. Really, the basic outline is the most they have in common as Things is a much darker film that goes to great lengths to show how what goes around comes around. Karma, to be sure. We begin in 2006 where four friends bond during their first year of college. We meet Jess (Scarlett Johansson), Alice (Jillian Bell), Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoe Kravitz). Clearly, they all have a good rapport and we then cut to ten years later where they all meet up again for Jess’s bachelorette party. Jess’s friend, Pippa (Kate McKinnon) arrives from Australia and then we’re treated to some background tidbits on each character before they’re off to Miami for a weekend of partying. As they’re out partying one night, they eventually decide to get Jess a stripper. The stripper arrives at their house, and before long, he’s accidentally killed as Alice jumps on him. There’s some panic, obviously, but the friends all agree that they should try and cover up the crime and never speak of it again. There are some amusing bits including the girls trying to dispose of the body, but things keep getting worse. There’s an amusing subplot involving the two sex crazed neighbors played by Demi Moore and Ty Burrell. There’s also another subplot involving Jess’s finance driving to her that’s just plain weird and really not funny at all.
I will say that Rough Night was a bit less amusing on my second viewing. I’m not sure if seeing it in a theater and hearing the audience laugh out loud added to the experience, but it was a somewhat less enjoyable experience at home. The acting is something of a mixed bag. I usually can’t stand Jillian Bell, but she’s more tolerable here. McKinnon has some funny moments as well, though she struggles often with her accent. Johansson is fine, though her role is more straightforward. I did enjoy a lot of the back and forth banter between the characters, especially after the stripper is killed. There’s enough sincerity between them and realness that I found myself caring. Things do get a bit too chaotic in the last act, and the girls are let off a bit too easy as well. Still, I think the film warrants a rental as it’s just entertaining enough to keep us with it. It’s never laugh out loud funny, but it passes the time well enough.
Video: How’s it look?
There’s also a 4K version out, but I can’t imagine how much better it would look as this transfer is top notch. I imagine maybe the clarity and sharpness are kicked up a bit. Still, this disc is no slouch either. The print is pristine and details strong throughout. The interior of the house (where a lot of time is spent) is also nice and easy on the eyes. Facial details and flesh tones are fine as well. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
Admittedly, this track is a bit more straightforward, but the vocals are still fine and there’s a crispness to it. There are some early scenes that show off good range and the last act gets a bit wild, so expect a relatively involving affair. Fans will be pleased with the results here.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Scandalous Sing-Along – Follow the bouncing X-rated glasses with this original adult sing-along!
- Killer Cast – Hear from your favorite cast of ladies as they discuss their first impressions and favorite parts of the film.
- The Dynamic Duo: Lucia and Paul – Lucia Anillo and Paul Downs discuss their past projects and how this one came to be.
- Playing Dead – Learn more about Jay-the-fake-stripper and hear from the cast and crew about working with and casting him.“Do a Little Dance” Featurette – In this special feature, learn about the work behind the scenes that made this dance number “b’genius.”
- Gag Reel – Laughing along with the ladies of Rough Night in this hilarious collection of outtakes!
- Deleted Scenes – 11 deleted scenes saved from the cutting room floor.
- “Naughty Neighbor” Diaries – Explore Pietro and Lea’s one-of-a-kind sensual video dating profile.
- Video Dating Profile
- Open Says Me Questionnaire
- Improv-O-Rama – Catch all the improv alternate lines of dialogue in this Improv-line-o-rama!
- DVD bonus material
The Bottom Line
While not the most original film and never as funny as it should have been, you could still do a lot worse. There’s a touch of Very Bad Things andWeekend at Bernie’s here, though it’s far tamer than the former. The cast all seem to be enjoying themselves, and while this isn’t something I’d revisit often, it’s worth checking out once. Rent it.