The first reviews are in for "Rough Night" and thankfully, it doesn't sound like a completely rough time at the movies.
The film comes from director Lucia Aniello and co-writer Paul Downs -- both co-head writers on Comedy Central's "Broad City" -- and revolves around a bachelorette party from hell where a male stripper is accidentally murdered.
With Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoe Kravitz and Ilana Glazer making up the main cast, critics have heaped praise on the women at the film's center. It's the story around them that may need a little work.
While Bahr says "there is a lot of funny in 'Rough Night'" and gives props to "a great (and brilliantly random) cast," the premise was hard to get behind.
"Comedies are welcome to test our moral flexibility, but it was extremely hard to get on board with the privileged cover-up antics of the 'Rough Night' crew after the man bleeds out — no matter what narrative gymnastics they try to concoct to make it OK. Not even 'Weekend At Bernie's' had the gall to make the protagonists the murderers."
"What's novel isn't so much the plot as the spin, the female gaze, the inside-the-club sensibility. That, for all the cookie-cutter elements, is what's fresh about the movie, and why it should find a solid audience.
It's hardly the first, or most original, comedy of female outrage to come along, but we've had 40 years of men behaving badly on screen, stretching back to 'National Lampoon's Animal House,' and watching these ladies get their turn generates a slobby low-down kick.
"It has just enough heart to make you care without mitigating the dark narrative at play, and it has a 'would watch you read the phone book' cast that more than justifies your time and investment."
"Rough Night is well-written, well-acted (Johansson is funny even while playing the 'straight man' of the group) and filled with solid, character-driven laughs. It is a good time spent with good company and has much to offer for those desiring a female-driven comedy and those merely wanting 100 minutes of solid laughs."
"A sloppy, untossed salad of a comedy, “Rough Night” survives on funny bits and a game cast."
"McKinnon, as per usual, walks away with the movie, adding a hilariously tone-deaf Aussie accent to the manic gleam she brings to every role. But given the talent on hand here, this should be more of an ensemble effort."
"Even if 'Rough Night' lives up to its title more than it should, there are still lots of laughs here, enough to smooth over the erratic filmmaking."
"Rough Night is a film whose premise is often funnier than its execution."
"Rough Night, which is like an episode of Broad City that got a blowout and smoked a pound of primo studio notes, tries to have it both ways. It wants to be a character-based lost-weekend romp, but keeps forcing itself toward increasingly ridiculous and self-consciously naughty set pieces."
"The set pieces feel increasingly obligatory, tenuously stitched into the larger plot with thinner and thinner thread."
"[Director Aniello] kills it, layering in joke on joke on joke, both verbal and visual. So even if one here or there doesn't land, there's still scads of laughs in every scene. More impressive, she and Downs crafted a sex comedy that is brazenly sex positive, refusing to shame the kinks and behaviors often treated as gross-out gags in the subgenre."
"Though a bit wonky in the middle, Rough Night is an explosively funny, wonderfully wild, yet surprisingly smart sex-comedy that makes it perfect pick for date night or a girls night out."
"The concept is unavoidably dark and, to the film's credit, the death scene is made suitably distasteful, but it feels like there's a sharper, funnier, weirder indie that could have been made here, without the framework of a laugh-a-minute studio comedy."
"Rough Night is a great deal funnier than the majority of studio comedies released in the past year (admittedly the bar is low), but it feels hampered by its canvas. A fun night will be had, but you'll have trouble remembering it in the morning."
"It's a fitting description of this female-buddy flick that gets off to a fast, furious and flagrantly raunchy start only to stumble 30 minutes in. After that, it zigzags unsteadily between being comic and serious and never really achieves lift-off."