Saturday, March 24, 2018

Rough Night

Directed by Lucia Aniello and written by Aniello and Paul W. Downs, Rough Night is the story of a bachelorette party gone horrible wrong when a male stripper is accidentally killed leading to all sorts of mayhem for the five women trying to figure out what to do. The film is a comedy where five female friends celebrate the upcoming nuptials of one of their own where it all goes wrong during a crazy night in Miami. Starring Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Paul W. Downs, Ryan Cooper, Colton Haynes, Ty Burrell, and Demi Moore. Rough Night is a witty though flawed film from Lucia Aniello.

The film follows a bachelorette weekend in Miami where the celebration goes wrong due to the accidental killing of a male stripper as the five women in the party try to figure out what to do to the body and hilarity ensues during the course of the night. It’s a film with a simple premise that play into five ladies wanting to hang out and party in Miami where they panic over an accident and make things worse along the way. The film’s screenplay by Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs does explore the relationship between the women as the bride-to-be in Jess (Scarlett Johansson) is reluctant about having a bachelorette weekend as she is dealing with a campaign for senator as she has a hard time connecting with voters. Her best friend Alice (Jillian Bell) is organizing the bachelorette party as it would include their college friends in Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoe Kravitz) plus a friend of Jess in Pippa (Kate McKinnon) whom Jess met during a semester in Australia.

While the script tries to juggle so much backstory of the characters as well as a subplot of Jess’ fiancĂ© Peter (Paul W. Downs) driving to Miami high on pills after hearing Jess panic over what happened. It’s a moment that does feel forced despite a few funny moments as much of the story focuses on the women trying to figure out what to do the body of this stripper (Ryan Cooper) as well as the relationship between these women as Frankie and Blair used to be a couple while there’s some tension from Alice towards Pippa as the former is trying to get Jess’ attention as it play into her clinginess. Even as Pippa is just this outsider new to the group who would try to come up with ideas while dealing with jet lag.

Aniello’s direction is largely straightforward in terms of the compositions as it doesn’t really go for anything stylistic in the visuals rather than emphasize on the humor. Shot largely in Saddle Rock and Mount Vernon in the state of New York with some additional locations in Miami, Florida. Aniello would open the film with Jess, Alice, Frankie, and Blair at a frat party where they like to hang out with each other just to establish their friendship and then move the film 10 years later where Alice is a teacher, Frankie is an activist with two strikes on her, and Blair is a real-estates agent dealing with a divorce and a custody battle. Aniello’s approach to the humor is to build things up as well as play up into the conversations and antics of the characters which would lead to something big. Even as it involves Pippa who would put herself in dangerous situations for comical reasons where it works while there’s some parts as it relates to Peter as he’s trying to reach Jess by driving to Miami does lag a bit despite a few funny moments. Yet, the film’s climax which relates to not just the stripper’s identity but also some of the drama that goes on with the women who come to terms that their lives aren’t so great and that they’re growing up. All the reason for them to be together no matter how bad things are. Overall, Aniello crafts an entertaining though messy film about a bachelorette party gone wrong.

Cinematographer Sean Porter does excellent work with the film’s cinematography as it is colorful with much of the action taking place at night to play into the Miami nightlight and scenes at the beach. Editor Craig Alpert does nice work with the editing with its stylish approaches to montages and some rhythmic cut to play into the humor. Art director Ryan Heck and set decorator Carol Silverman do fantastic work with the look of the house Jess is loaned for the weekend as well as the home she lives in with Peter. Costume designer Leah Katznelson does terrific work with the costumes as it is largely casual with the stylized clothes the women wear during the bachelorette festivities.

Visual effects supervisor Karl Coyner does some fine work with the visual effects as it’s mainly set-dressing for a few scenes including Peter’s drive to Miami. Sound editor Kami Asgar does superb work with the sound in the way music sounds on location as well as the sound of the waves in the ocean. The film’s music by Dominic Lewis is wonderful for its low-key score that is playful with its usage of electronics and orchestral music for the suspense and drama with much of the film’s soundtrack featuring a mix of pop, hip-hop, EDM, and rock from acts like Wolfmother, Marilyn Manson, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Skrillex, Cliff Martinez, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, J-Kwon, Khia, Neon Jungle, Divinyls, and Kate McKinnon singing a hilarious song during the credits.

The casting by Rori Bergman and Jeanne McCarthy is brilliant as it feature some notable small roles from Peter Francis Jack as Blair’s attorney uncle, Karan Soni as Jess’ assistant in her campaign, the quartet of Bo Burnham, Eric Andre, Hasan Minhaj, and Patrick Carlyle as Peter’s friends for their own bachelor party, Dean Winters and Enrique Murciano as a couple of detectives, Devin Ratray as a truck driver Peter meets on his way to Miami, Colton Haynes as a police officers who appears in the film’s second act, and Ryan Cooper as the male stripper who is accidentally killed. Ty Burrell and Demi Moore are fantastic in their respective roles as the couple Pietro and Lea as the neighbors who want to engage into a sexual fantasy with Blair that would become overwhelming for her. Paul W. Downs is alright as Jess’ fiancĂ© Peter as a man who becomes fearful that he’s not good enough for Jess forcing him to drive to Miami while wearing adult diapers, drinking Red Bull, taking outdated prescription medicines, and later doing meth as it’s a mixed-bag of a performance where it’s funny but also forceful at times.

Ilana Glazer is excellent as Frankie as an activist who is trying to deal with the situation as she is aware that she has two strikes on her while dealing with her own feelings for Blair. Zoe Kravitz is brilliant as Blair as a real estate agent dealing with a divorce and custody battle who finds herself being the object of desire for the neighbors as she also is dealing with her own feelings for Frankie. Jillian Bell is amazing as Alice as Jess’ best friend from college who is the most excited about the bachelorette party while doing things that are funny to express her character’s loneliness and lack of excitement in her life. Kate McKinnon is incredible as Pippa as Jess’ Australian friend who is the funniest character in the film for providing some physical comedy as well as some witty commentary on the situations. Finally, there’s Scarlett Johansson in a remarkable performance as Jessica “Jess” Thayer as the bride who is dealing with a senatorial campaign and getting married as she deals with the chaos of an accidental murder where she provides some funny moments as well as being the reliable straight woman.

Rough Night is a stellar though flawed film from Lucia Aniello. Despite its messy script and tonal issues in the film, the film does feature an excellent cast and some funny moments that do provide enough moments that is entertaining with characters that are engaging. In the end, Rough Night is a very good film from Lucia Aniello.

© thevoid99 2018


s. said...

They need to stop casting Johansson in comedies. She is simply not funny and she is is shockingly charmless in lighter films. Her presence here sucked out all the fun out of the movie

thevoid99 said...

@Sati-I disagree. I actually think she's funny. She just knows what to do as she's often more of the straight-woman to everyone else who is doing the funny stuff.