We- the fans had an opportunity to catch Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell at the beginning of this year, but now she’s making her return to the theaters with another movie.
Lucia Aniello’s directorial debut Rough Night is Scarlett’s latest project, and in this summer’s black comedy she’s Jess. An ambitious politician who reluctantly agrees to a bachelorette party in Miami, before her upcoming nuptials. The party is organized by her BFF/ party animal Alice (Jillian Bell) and attended by her college friends Frankie (Ilana Glazer), Blair (Zoe Kravitz) and Pippa (Kate McKinnon), Jess’s friend from her year abroad. Everything is pretty OK for the girls until they start doing massive amounts of cocaine and accidentally kill a male stripper. The rest of the evening will be concentrated on how to dispose of the body and get away with this crime.
I must emphasize the plot similarities of Rough NIght to Peter Berg’s 1998 black comedy Very Bad Things before I take this post further. Only now the roles are reversed (they are female instead of male) the city is now Miami (instead of Las Vegas) and the victim is now a male stripper. Or so it seemed.
Scarlet Johansson’s character in Rough Night should be center of attention according to the star billing, popularity and the role given to her by Aniello, but as a character Jess is portrayed as the most bland and boring of the bunch. None of the ladies characters is particularly likable (to be honest most of them are annoying and irritating) but Jess seems most vanilla of them all. Also wort mentioning is Johansson’s lack of comedic timing talent compared to McKinnon, Glazer and Bell but she manages to stay composed and to blend in.
Rough Night starts win a short intro scene from the girl’s college days, where we begin to see the characters and their eventual progression in the storyline. Now, because there are a few female characters, they are not all treated equally, and because the time line is set in around 24 hours there is not much chance for us to see the progression of those characters.
With the exception of Demi Moore and Ty Burell’s swinger couple (in the house right next to bachelorette’s) there isn’t much interaction for the girls in the house, and the supporting characters enter the movie waay late into the movie. Almost at the finish line. So when we see that progression and development of those characters, it’s mixed with physical comedy and raunchy humor (Peter’s adult diapers trip to Florida) that transitions into stereotypical, creepy and lazy. However the picking of the cast was done masterly. Here on one place you have the most talented comedic actresses of today (Mekinnon and Glazer are outstanding) but as much as i admire Johansson’s afford in this role, i’m a afraid she’s falling behind, and bot being able to catch up.
From all of the female characters, Jess is least interested or excited to be there of all (despite being the future bride) but we also get to see how the the rest of the characters changed in the 10 years since college. Don’t get me wrong, stereotypes are rampant in all of the characters also. Alice is the horny chubby one, while Blair is the sad, rich and beautiful one, and Frankie is the hippie liberal wacko. And for the most part, all that we witness are bad jokes coming from panicky entitled women. There are some male characters in Rough Night, but are also wasted here since they are degraded with adult diapers plot devices or they are pushed to the sidelines and forgotten there. I couldn’t help but feel how Jess fiancée Peter (Paul W. Downs) seemed pretty fake, like he’s playing a „type“ not a possible character, but almost every other male character seemed that way.
Another „type“ but from the female group is the sexually/physically aggressive Alison who’s just annoying till the very end but what’s more annoying about the whole movie is that it suffers from identity crisis. Kind of like most of characters it doesn’t know what’s supposed to portray or what to be. A black comedy, a rom com or something else. Look. Female oriented comedies can be funny, and daring and raunchy. Look at Bridesmaids. The same cannot be said about Rough night…