Movie review: 'Rough Night'

Brad Keefe

It's been a disappointing year for comedy, but the most disappointing comedy of the year may be “Rough Night.”

The R-rated comedy is in the vein of “The Hangover” — a group of grown friends has a wild night with unexpected consequences — only with a gender flip to a female-led cast.

And it's a really good one, led by Scarlett Johansson as Jess, a woman on the verge of marriage and an election for state senator. Jess' Miami bachelorette party brings together her old friends from college (Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer) and after (Kate McKinnon).

The party starts off quietly and then turns into a coke-fueled rager. The inevitable male stripper arrives … and ends up dead through an unfortunate mishap.

So, yeah, actually, it's not “The Hangover” so much as a carbon copy of the plot of the super dark comedy “Very Bad Things.”

But a funny thing happens along the way for “Rough Night.” Or, rather, an unfunny thing.

For a cast featuring comedic scene-stealers like Bell, the brilliant McKinnon, and Glazer of “Broad City,” this movie is disappointingly low on laughs.

Director/co-writer Lucia Aniello strings together a series of forced events and forced humor (Can we forever retire the white people slo-mo party scene trope?) for only sporadic laughs. It's a cheap retread of familiar comedy ground. It shouldn't have been.

I remember once hoping that “Bridesmaids” would usher in a wave of great comedies focused on women. “Rough Night” is the latest in a string that hasn't reached that bar.

“Rough Night”

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2 stars out of 5