Girls Night Out – Rough Night (2017)
Directed by: Lucia Aniello | 101 minutes | comedy | Actors: Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Kate McKinnon, Paul W. Downs, Ryan Cooper, Ty Burrell, Demi Moore, Enrique Murciano, Dean Winters, Colton Haynes, Patrick Carlyle, Eric André
At bachelorette parties in Hollywood movies, something always goes wrong, that’s for sure. In fact; a complete subgenre has now emerged around lost grooms, excessive alcohol and drug abuse and parties and animals until you drop. Already in the fifties there was the film ‘The Bachelor Party’ (1957), where it was still relatively well behaved – just like in ‘Bachelor Party’ (1984) with a young Tom Hanks in the lead role. In the twenty-first century, the subgenre of the out-of-control bachelorette party has really taken off. ‘Bridesmaids’ (2011) and especially ‘The Hangover’ (2009) are considered the most successful examples; the success of that film ensures a boom in bachelor films, because everyone wants to get a piece of the pie. And where the audience hopes for an original approach, it is often just a repetition of moves that we are presented with. The latest shoot on the tree is ‘Girls Night Out’ – known elsewhere in the world under the title ‘Rough Night’ – (2017), a film that borrows very ostentatiously from its predecessors. His most important asset – the stripper hired by the ladies to entertain the bride-to-be is tragically killed – we saw years ago in ‘Very Bad Things’ (1998). The only difference is that here it is women who indulge in drink, drugs and fun, whereas it is usually the men who show their most immature side.
Because screenwriters Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs (who also plays the role of the groom-to-be) want to make it clear from the start that women can misbehave just like men. In a flashback we see Jess (Scarlett Johansson) and her roommate Alice (Jillian Bell) drinking all the men present home during a student booze. Ten years later, Jess is an ambitious politician who has set her sights on a seat in the Senate. Moreover, she is about to get married. For Alice, who got a bit stuck in her student days, that is the signal to organize a wild bachelor weekend on the beach in Miami. Also childhood friends Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoë Kravitz) join. At the request of the bride-to-be, her Australian friend Pippa (Kate McKinnon), whom she knows from a student exchange, also joins. The party can start! While groom Peter and his friends taste very civilized wine without getting really drunk, Jess and her friends go overboard partying, sniffing and drinking. Because it’s part of the job, a male stripper (Ryan Cooper) is also ordered. When the rather needy Alice throws herself at him like a mad bull, things go horribly wrong and the women are suddenly left with a corpse. Calling the police apparently isn’t an option, so the stripper’s lifeless body is dragged from place to place in the women’s frantic efforts to get rid of it.
You can use a standard checklist for these kinds of movies, because you invariably come across the same underpants fun. Poo, pee and other excrement, intimate body parts and the complete spectrum of alcoholic refreshments and narcotics or stimulants are reviewed. There are also countless references to sex; Frankie and Blair once had a relationship, there is a sex swing in the beach villa that the ladies rent and Demi Moore and Ty Burrell emerge as the rather oversexed couple next door. And then there’s the colorless groom who twists himself in impossible (and degrading) turns to get rid of his future bride, who is actually way out of his league, but doesn’t have to get rid of it. It never gets really funny, but that’s just the level of the average bachelor party movie. What is actually much more annoying is that the whole thing is performed so uninspired. The fact that the humor doesn’t come across well is not only due to the bland screenplay, but also due to the total lack of chemistry between the lead actresses. You can expect actresses like Johansson, McKinnon and Kravitz to offer something extra, but unfortunately we don’t see any of that. Only from Jillian Bell’s Alice do we get a hint of backstory relevant to the character. ‘Girls Night Out’ lacks a fresh, innovative approach and the necessary flair in the execution. Now it is mainly a deja vu; an accumulation of the adolescent humor that we have already seen in countless other films and which really doesn’t make us warm or cold anymore.