A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rough Night is a dark, over-the-top bachelorette-party-gone-wrong comedy starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, and more. Expect binge drinking, drug use, crude sexual situations, strong language, and violence played for laughs. Three people are killed during the movie; their deaths are joked about and/or blithely explained away. A dead body stars in a number of visual gags: propped up in a leather sex swing with a goofy mask on, kissed by a woman trying not to let others discover he's dead, etc. Characters try to dispose of a dead body to evade murder charges; they clean up a large pool of blood with towels. Sexual situations include a three-way scene in which a woman receiving implied oral sex shrieks and moans (no graphic nudity). Jokes also reference infidelity, sexually transmitted diseases, sex toys, fetishes, picking up strangers at gas stations to pay them for sex acts, and other mature topics. Characters who want to get wasted drink tons of liquor, including champagne and shots; they vomit and make fatal mistakes under the influence. They also snort cocaine, smoke pot, take pills to stay awake, and buy methamphetamine. Frequent strong language includes "hell," "damn," "bitch," "c--t," "ass," "f--k," and more.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
When five old friends head to Miami to throw a bachelorette bash for Jess (Scarlett Johansson), they have no idea what a ROUGH NIGHT they're in for. A decade ago, these friends were party monsters who could hold their own in beer pong; now they've grown up (somewhat). Jess is running for state senator and engaged to the adoring Peter (Paul W. Downs); Blair (Zoe Kravitz) is embroiled in a custody battle; Frankie (Ilana Glazer) is a full-time social justice warrior; Pippa (Kate McKinnon) is living a free-spirit life in Australia; and Alice (Jillian Bell) is a teacher who cares for her Alzheimer's-stricken mother (yet is still the same needy party girl she was in college). When the friends decide to go slightly crazy and hire a stripper, things get really bad, really fast when he accidentally ends up dead. Now the partiers have a problem -- do they hide the body and hope nobody notices anything? Or do they face the potentially life-ruining consequences?
Is it any good?
To steal a quip from Roger Ebert (writing about 1998's more-than-superficially similar Very Bad Things), "this isn't a bad movie, just a reprehensible one." Rough Night wants you to laugh at things that are very much not funny (the deaths of three people), as well as things that used to be funny -- we've seen enough women acting up in films by now that the sight of them, say, snorting coke in a bathroom stall is no longer hilarious. Jokes about tampons: No longer funny. Gags that involve a chubby character accidentally bowling someone over: No longer funny. An extended sequence that involves a man "sad astronaut"-ing on a road trip (wearing adult diapers so that he won't have to make bathroom stops): Very very much no longer funny. Particularly since said man inexplicably wears nothing but the diapers in the car -- he wouldn't put on pants over them? No? Pants do fit over diapers. And was there a reason why he and his friends bought seven boxes (!) of diapers at the drugstore? Just how much was he planning to pee?
It's all a shame, because the actors are all strong, and the behind-the-scenes folks are truly talented: writer/director Lucia Aniello and co-writer Paul W. Downs (who also plays Peter) are two of the powers-that-be behind Broad City. How is it that these fresh, funny folks have created this over-the-top mishmash of cliches from other, better movies (chiefly Bridesmaids and The Hangover)? What went wrong? And how can we keep whatever happened from happening again? Because this misbegotten movie isn't just largely unfunny; it's almost depressing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Rough Night compares to similar films starring men. Is this kind of humor any less funny when women are the instigators? Do you think it appeals to the same audience?
Female friendships are relatively rare in movies. What other movies can you think of that center on groups of female friends? How is Rough Night similar to and different from movies like Bridesmaids or Bachelorette?
Talk about the ritual of the bachelorette party -- is it a chance for real bonding or an excuse to behave badly? How realistic do you think weekend parties like this are (aside from the deaths, that is)?
- In theaters: June 16, 2017
- On DVD or streaming: September 5, 2017
- Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, Ilana Glazer
- Director: Lucia Aniello
- Studios: Sony Pictures Entertainment, Columbia Pictures
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: crude sexual content, language throughout, drug use and brief bloody images
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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