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Byron Shire
August 5, 2021

Cinema Review: Rough Night

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There’s a lot of squealing in this, and almost as much alcohol consumption and cocaine snorting… but with none of the women involved showing any sign of being affected by the substances. Basically, the movie is a copy of The Hangover, only with girls acting the goat – meaning that it is rude and crude and sometimes funny, if in a try-hard way.

It also has a complex but coherent plot that bends over backwards to make everything okay in the end. Jess (Scarlett Johansson), campaigning for a senate seat, takes time out for a hens’ night before her wedding to Peter (Paul W Downs).

She travels to Miami and is reunited with her best friends from college – Alice (Jillian Bell), possibly the most irritating character you will see on screen this year, Blair (Zoë Kravitz), the black chick, Frankie (Ilana Glazer), the lesbian activist and Pippa (Kate McKinnon), the Aussie wild girl (it’s a pity they could not have found an Australian to play the part – Americans just can’t do our accent). They hire a stripper and when Alice lunges at him he falls back, cracks his skull and carks it.

The usual idiocy follows, with a lot of pratfalls and swearing, and a threesome sex scene on the beach that might not conform to everybody’s idea of good taste. Meanwhile, Peter and his mates are sitting at home doing a wine tasting. These sequences with the guys are the most original in the movie, with the idea of role reversals taken to its camp and clever extreme. Issues of friendship are explored when the girls, so tight to begin with, start to fray at the edges as the crisis worsens and the question of race raises its head briefly when Blair’s colour is alluded to in a way that she finds offensive. My laugh-out-loud moment (I had one only) came when Peter, after scaling the engine of a Big Mack, was then propositioned by a truck driver. Otherwise it’s just slapstick and ratbaggery.

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