Going to watch Rough Night was just like going on a blind date that you’re weird friend from work set you up with. You think the date is going to be absolutely atrocious but somehow it turns out to be a good time. Not good enough to where you’d want a second date because let’s face it, she was bat-shit crazy. Same here with Rough Night. I’ll never watch it again but I can’t say I hated the experience. Rough Night by no means is a masterpiece and thankfully it didn’t try to be. The film knew that it was a by-the-numbers comedy that didn’t offer much knew material. It only tried to be mildly entertaining and surprisingly it accomplished that. Unfortunately, this unambitious comedy isn’t really a gold mine for the theme analyses that my hipster alter ego enjoys but I’ll try to do some kind of analyses on why the film managed to keep me entertained.
Lets start off with a positive. The characters in the film were surprisingly decent. I went into Rough Night thinking that the characters were going to be cartoonish versions of the actresses and that wasn’t the case. The characters were believable enough…except Jess’s (Scarlet Johansson) fiance was the worst. In fact any scene with the hipster group of guys was awful. They all seemed like cartoon versions of a cartoonish nice guy. The male characters and their chemistry between each other was as convincing as Pinocchio’s poker face. The girls on the other hand were decently developed. It wasn’t great, but they were developed enough to get behind the movie’s premise. In the end, that is all that I was hoping for and I got it.
I have to mention the biggest surprise of the film for me was that I didn’t mind Jillian Bell’s character. I generally don’t like her comedy because she is the same in everything that she plays. However, her character really fit into the story. The conflict of her wanting to live in the past and be the center of the weekend helped drive the plot forward and keep humor intertwined with the more dramatic scenes in the film. I never thought I’d say this, but well done Jillian Bell.
As a comedy, Rough Night’s only job was to make me laugh. It succeeded most of the time. I didn’t have those laugh out loud moments but I chuckled most of the way through the film. The comedy was simple. It mainly contrasted an intense dramatic situation with reactions that would never happen in real life. For example, when the “stripper” dies, the girls immediately react with shock and guilt. However, they then order pizza which is something nobody in that situation would ever do. There was a lot of humor with those kinds of interactions because the director and actresses executed their comedic timing well. Also, by mixing realistic reactions with bizarre reactions helped anchor the film to not allow the comedy to pull me out of the film.
The camera angles were just like the rest of the film…plain but effective. There will be no cinematography Oscar for Rough Night but the camera work kept me engaged. There were only two types of shots used in the film. Group shots and personal close-ups. Most scenes used the two throughout to show the group dynamic as the scene unfolded. Sometimes the camera would focus on a certain character while they talked to draw more attention to what that person was saying. The camera angles were by-the-book, yet effective. I was never lost in a scene so I can’t complain. I would have loved to see the camera play a bigger part in some of the humor but I’ll take what I can get.
Overall, Rough Night was an entertaining that kept me engaged throughout the film. It wasn’t a great comedy but it did just fine. Maybe next time we can get a comedy on the level of Bad Moms. That is one female-led comedy that knocked it out of the park!