Kyra Power ’19/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
How exactly is a movie about five friends who accidentally kill a stripper one of the most relatable movies I have ever seen? At first glance, this seems, like the movie itself, totally ridiculous, but it starts to make sense. From Broad City writer Lucia Aniello, Rough Night follows a killer cast of ladies as they set out on their friend Jess’s (Scarlett Johansson) bachelorette weekend in Miami.
Jess, a budding, awkward politician (whose hair cut and pantsuits made me wonder if she would end the movie roaming the woods of New York state) wants a lowkey weekend: she is just so excited for her wedding to Peter (Paul W. Downs) and caught up in the election. Her friends, though, have other plans. Alice (Jillian Bell) has been dreaming of this party weekend for years. With the addition of Frankie (Ilana Glazer), Blair (Zoe Kravitz), and Pippa (Kate McKinnon), Jess’s friend from Australia, Jess’s night suddenly starts to get rough. Frankie scores cocaine off the busboy, Alice almost gets concussed dancing and when the stripper Blair suggested arrives, they accidentally murder him. Jess panics and calls Peter, but they cut the call short and in its chaos Peter is led to believe Jess is leaving him. While the women try and figure out what to do in their ever increasing danger, he sets off on an all night road trip to win Jess back.
As Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs, the writers of the film, have only written for television (mostly for Broad City), I was slightly concerned. Would the writers for a hilarious, but loosely structured show be able to pull off a full length comedy? While the first act drags a little in exposition, it makes up for it by being consistently fresh and funny. The story itself stays strong and ties in all its loose ends well. Aniello and Downs seem to have taken inspiration from the Broad City structure of a sort of step by step sequence of real life events and applied to it to the question: How would five very drunk women try and go about disposing of a body? The film went from lighthearted comedic moments to emotional tests of friendship to fear invoking action scenes. While Aniello is owed great credit, she could not have done it without the incredible cast.
Each actress plays so well to her strengths. Scarlett Johansson, the straight man, Ilana Glazer, the care-free stoner, Jillian Bell, the awkward friend stuck in the past, Zoe Kravitz, the stuck up rich bitch, and Kate McKinnon, the incredibly weird, but lovable Australian friend. Despite the plot being ridiculous, something about the film feels so real and I think it has a lot to do with the characters. They are strong and scared, flawed, but there for each other and all throughout the film. There was something so relatable about the struggle to move on after college, the hiding of a dissolving marriage owed to embarrassment and most importantly, tying your robe on tight and plugging in a curling iron when a crazy man is coming for you.
The movie comes out during the summer of women. Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman demolished at the box office and inspired a generation of young girls. Granted Rough Night is about five friends trying to escape a murder charge, not saving the world, but the way in which they play their imperfections and use their strengths to get out of their ever increasing danger is somehow inspirational, and of course incredibly funny. A successful film debut for Aniello, Rough Night is a great summer comedy.
Overall Grade: A
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