Lucia Aniello, a frequent writer and director for the Comedy Central show Broad City, brings her experience at both of those creative duties to the big screen with the hard-R-rated comedy Rough Night. The movie’s script, co-written by Aniello and Paul W. Downs, delivers a much needed female perspective on the typical raunchy comedy—which, in this case, feels like a group marriage between Bridesmaids, The Hangover, and Weekend at Bernie’s.
The acting department of Rough Night isn’t rough at all. The refreshingly eclectic cast portray a group of college friends who are planning to relive their hard-partying days at the bachelorette weekend of their pal Jess, a campaigning politician played by Scarlett Johansson with a Hillary Clinton look. This free-for-all in Miami also includes Jess’ intense bestie, grade-school teacher Alice (Jillian Bell); the seemingly successful Blair (Zoë Kravitz), who’s secretly separated from her husband and stuck in a child-custody battle; financially frustrated activist Frankie (Ilana Glazer); and Jess’ bizarre and outrageous post-college pal, the Australian-accented Pippa (Kate McKinnon), who keeps poking holes in the bond between the other ladies.
These fun-deprived friends decide to enjoy everything from airport alcohol to spontaneous coke snorting during their girls’ getaway—which eventually leads to their accidental murder of a male stripper at a glass-walled home they’re renting by the beach. How will they hide this dead dude from their noisy and sexually curious middle-aged neighbors (Demi Moore and Ty Burrell)? After all, they’ll face some life-ruining and career-ending consequences if they just get arrested—and none of them are built for prison life if they end up convicted.
This comedy begins to rev up its engines once the ladies make matters worse by trying to hide their fatal mistake, and there’s also a hilarious subplot about Jess’ husband-to-be Peter (Downs) involving adult diapers, Red Bull, and his fears that Jess is getting cold feet. Sure, the characters make many decisions we would never make (like the aforementioned adult diapers), and the movie doesn’t avoid the usual clichés of Hollywood comedies: slow-motion shots of people with a false sense of confidence, aggressive rap songs juxtaposing the actions of nonaggressive characters, Three Stooges-style slapstick. All in all, Rough Night might not have the iconic moments or quotable lines of Bridesmaids, The Hangover, or Weekend at Bernie’s, but its characters are still relatable and hilarious to watch. And as Cyndi Lauper once sang, “Girls just wanna have fun”—it’s nice to see a movie acknowledge that, rather than always letting the guys do the crazy partying.