Review: Party girls are in for a wild ‘Rough Night’

Things go wrong when a budding politician (Scarlett Johansson) heads to Miami with her college girlfriends (Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon) for her bachelorette weekend. Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.

As women achieve more milestones toward gender parity in film (and there’s still a long way to go), steps toward 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 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.

Movie Review ★★½  

‘Rough Night,’ with Scarlett Johansson, Jillian Bell, Kate McKinnon, Zoë Kravitz, Ilana Glazer, Paul W. Downs. Directed by Lucia Aniello, from a screenplay by Aniello and Downs. 101 minutes. Rated R for crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and brief bloody images. Several theaters.

The film starts off a bit rocky, as the story elements are established, but gets better and funnier as it…

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