Movie #131 2020: Rough Night (2017)

Ah, Rough Night. A movie that I saw the trailer for in the cinema and thought it looked brilliant. I mean, Scarlett Johanssen, Kate McKinnon, and Zoe Kravitz all in one movie sounds like my ideal cast. Throw in Ilana Glazer too, because her TV show Broad City is one of my all time faves and you have a winner.

Sadly, I let other people’s opinions put me off after initially being excited to see it.

I didn’t see this film until mid-April of 2020, even though it was on my radar as a must-watch since 2017. Well, I’ve learned to stop letting other opinions sway my own, because I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it!

Firstly, no, I’m not saying this is the best or funniest movie I’ve ever seen, but the way people hound Rough Night makes it sound dire. Let me tell you: it’s not dire at all! Does every single joke land? No. But you know what? There were at least 10 things that made me belly laugh in this movie!

Here’s what I’m putting the unjust, over-exaggerated criticism down to: it’s an ensemble comedy about a group of women. Weirdly, people didn’t have that qualm about Bridesmaids, even though I don’t love that movie so much myself. But if Rough Night had its roles reversed and was exactly the same, except it was a twenty-eighth sequel to The Hangover, everyone would love it.

The only explanation to such poor reviews is that it’s a film for women that is directed by a woman. Maybe you wouldn’t quite understand the nuances of some of the jokes if you don’t identify as a biological female? (No offence, fragile folk). I don’t know. But there’s so much about this movie to love that I just can’t warrant criticising it too much.

A note on the cast seems apt here, while we’re focusing on the movie being led by women. I’m not exactly sure why Scarlett Johansson agreed to starring in this movie, but for some reason, it made me respect her more. Even though her character is often crass and nasty and uptight, it’s just so great to see ScarJo let her hair down for once. I guess between kicking villainous arse as Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron and shouting her lungs out in Marriage Story, ya girl needed a break. She needed to have fun. And I think it’s evidently clear how refreshed she feels playing this character and being directed by a fellow woman. It’s lovely to see, even if she has said some questionable things in the past about race in cinema.

As an ardent Kate McKinnon fan, it’s difficult for me to say that her Australian accent needs a little work. Though she does a much better job than any other American portraying an Australian I’ve ever seen, there are little off-putting syncopations in her phrasing that took away from the realism. However, she’s still Kate bloody McKinnon and she remains to be the funniest person in this movie. Zoe Kravitz is Zoe Kravitz, and she can do no wrong in my book. Here, she does an amazing job at playing the white bougie black woman, and manages to make a pretty rigid character really quite humorous.

Sure, as I’ve already said, it’s not the best movie I’ve ever seen. But I’m glad I got over what other people had said about Rough Night in the end. I can’t justify giving it your average 3 Qs either, because I definitely enjoyed it more than other 3 Q rated films here.

What I’m saying is, ignore the filmbros, ignore the Anchorman fanatics, and watch this movie. (Don’t worry, I love Anchorman too, but guess what?! You can love more than one comedy and not feel the need to pit one against the other!)

Rough Night is available to rent on the Google Play Store for £2.49.

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