From left, Blair (Zoë Kravitz), Alice (Jillian Bell), Jess (Scarlett Johansson), Frankie (Illana Grazer) and Pippa (Kate McKinnon) head out for a bachelorette party in “Rough Night.” (Columbia Pictures)

From left, Blair (Zoë Kravitz), Alice (Jillian Bell), Jess (Scarlett Johansson), Frankie (Illana Grazer) and Pippa (Kate McKinnon) head out for a bachelorette party in “Rough Night.” (Columbia Pictures)

‘Rough Night’ is a raunchy ride for a talented cast

  • Friday, June 16, 2017 1:30am
  • Life

By Katie Walsh / Tribune News Service

As women achieve more milestones toward gender parity in film (and there’s still a long way to go to), steps towards equality don’t always have to be positive or uplifting images of womanhood. Sometimes, it’s more relevant when female characters can be just as raunchy, drunk, morally corrupt and beloved as their badly behaved male counterparts.

“Rough Night,” from “Broad City” writers Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs (they co-wrote the script while Aniello directed and Downs stars in the film), is the first R-rated Hollywood studio film directed by a woman, about women, in decades. It not only pushes the boundary of questionable behavior, it does a handstand on top of it, and fortunately, they just about nail the landing.

“Rough Night” is a riff on the premise of the 1998 dark comedy “Very Bad Things,” wherein Jeremy Piven and pals accidentally kill a sex worker during a wild night of partying. That film ended up fairly bleak and misogynistic, and “Rough Night” has to do much more than just flip the genders to erase the ickiness that comes with murdering a sex worker. Fortunately, Aniello and Downs manage to elide the severity of that act with some clever plotting, and a whole lot of weird and wacky elements to distract from that.

“Broad City” is a series that thrives on the surreal, and in “Rough Night,” Aniello and Downs inject a lot of that strangeness into the known generic universe of the girls’ trip movie. The film, which starts off a bit rocky, as the story elements are established, only gets better and funnier as it builds, leaning into the craziness as the dominos fall into place.

In what may very well be our first post-Hillary comedy, Scarlett Johansson stars as Jessica, a budding politician running for state Senate (she even has a Hillary-style haircut). She’s struggling in the polls against an opponent voters find “relatable,” even though he can’t stop tweeting lewd selfies. Nevertheless, she heads to Miami with her college girlfriends for her bachelorette weekend. Johansson plays the straight man in her posse, which includes over-enthusiastic kindergarten teacher Alice (Jillian Bell), activist Frankie (Ilana Glazer), wealthy divorceé Blair (Zoë Kravitz) and Aussie flower child Pippa (Kate McKinnon).

It’s standard party girl stuff, until Alice accidentally manslaughters the young man they’ve invited into their pad as a stripper, and they decide that instead of calling the police, they’ll dispose of the body. The film takes pains to establish the death as somewhat justified, and humor comes not from the corpse desecration, but the tangential tornado of chaos, including, and especially, Downs as Jessica’s fiancé Peter. Demi Moore and Ty Burrell also turn in a memorable cameo as an amorous neighbor couple.

Bell is a standout as the unhinged Alice, and both she and Downs turn in the funniest performances of the movie because they commit so fully, with a manic intensity, and wide-eyed determination, to the bit. McKinnon is also predictably great, on her own Aussie planet.

Talk to us

More in Life

TikToker Brett Kelly, 24, whose Pumpkin man character TikTok video will be aired on the CBS show The Greatest #AtHome Videos on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
The TikTok ‘Pumpkin Man’ of Lake Stevens dances to TV fame

After his pandemic layoff from Macy’s, Brett Kelly, 24, has been adding to his 1.4 million followers.

The Black Tones are one of three headliners of this year's Fisherman's Village Music Festival broadcast on YouTube and at www.thefishermansvillage.com. Catch the band's performance on Oct. 31. (Kendall Lawren Rock)
Fisherman’s Village festival returns as streaming video series

Long delayed by the pandemic, the spotlight for local music is being broadcast in four episodes this week.

The five telltale signs of a ‘hortaholic’

It may be an addiction, but it’s the good kind that enriches your life.

This silver-plated serving piece is called a box but it doesn't look like one. It held English biscuits, but if the sides opened, the cookies inside would fall down. Each of the shell-shaped bowls had a hinged, pierced flap that kept the heat and the biscuits in place when the sides were opened and became flat bowls to serve the cookies. The flaps are often missing when the biscuit box is sold.-
These British ‘biscuit boxes’ are cookie jars by any other name

And fancy silver ones can sell for as much as $256 at antiques auctions.

Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’
PURPLE-LEAF GRAPE VINE
Great Plant Pick: Vitis vinifera “Purpurea”

It’s a common wine grape, but in the Puget Sound region, it’s grown for its beauty — the fruit won’t ripen in our climate.

Pandemic psychology and fear of contagion or psychological fears of disease or virus infections with 3D illustration elements.
Pandemic pains: Sleepless nights, hair loss and cracked teeth

Chronic stress from the months-long COVID-19 pandemic is a common thread among many of these conditions.

An expert’s top 3 tips to effectively train for virtual races

When COVID-19 struck, many races were canceled to limit crowds. Virtual races are becoming a popular alternative.

Beer-brined BBQ chicken with mustard and miso mayonnaise sauce. (Sam Folan)
Feel like a chef in your own kitchen with ‘Home Cookery Year’

The cookbook is divided by seasons and includes midweek suppers, recipes on a budget and payday cooking.

Curried beef stew is a warm, hearty dish when the weather turns cool. (Gretchen McKay/Post-Gazette/TNS)
Chase away the chill with this Dutch oven curried beef stew

It gets an Asian kick from curry powder and fresh ginger, and umami from a few splashes of fish and soy sauces.

Most Read