June 28, 2017

Rough Night: A Raunchy Bachelorette Party Similar to “The Hangover”

Jessica (Scarlett Johansson) and Peter (Paul W. Downs) are about to get married. However, before the ceremony, they’ve agreed to simultaneously throw themselves bachelor’s and bachelorette’s parties. Jessica flies down to Miami for a wild party with four of her closest college classmates, while Peter plans a modest evening of wine tasting with a few of his buddies.

It turns out that Jessica is in the middle of a campaign for the state senate, so she doesn’t want their party to get out of control and generate negative publicity that would hurt her candidacy. However, she’s unaware that decorum is the last thing on the mind of Alice (Jillian Bell), the girlfriend whom Jessica asked to plan their get together.

Alice sees the reunion as an opportunity for the foursome to indulge one last time in the sort of parties they had on campus ten years ago, when they would get drunk while playing beer pong on a weekend night. So, she’s planned a wild weekend that includes everything from cocaine to a male stripper.

The other three members of the party are Pippa (Kate McKinnon), a clown who is up for anything, as is Blair (Zoe Kravitz), who is recovering from an ugly custody battle. However, Frankie (Ilana Glazer), who is a lesbian, has a history of run-ins with the law and is afraid about violating the “Three Strikes” law that would automatically give her a life sentence in jail.

The party starts in the airport terminal when Alice uncorks a bottle of champagne that unwittingly triggers a stampede by passengers who mistake the pop of the cork for a gunshot. Next, when they arrive at their beachfront rental house, they are invited by the next-door couple Lea (Demi Moore) and Pietro (Ty Burrell) to participate in an orgy.

Things quickly go from bad to worse when the exotic dancer, whom Alice hired, arrives. During his striptease act, he accidentally hits his head and kills himself. Jessica and her friends decide to dump the body in the ocean rather than call the cops and what ensues is a hilariously escalating comedy of errors.

Rough Night is reminiscent of The Hangover (2009), although it also has moments that recall scenes from Bridesmaids (2011) and Weekend at Bernie’s (1989). The movie is the directorial debut of Lucia Aniello, the first woman to direct an R-rated comedy since Tamra Davis made Half Baked in 1998.

Excellent (****). Rated R for crude sexuality, drug use, coarse humor, brief bloody images, and profanity. Running time: 101 minutes. Distributor: Columbia Pictures.