City Press film review: Rough Night
Johannesburg - A week ago, a perceptive writer from arts and culture publication The Outline realised that Hollywood was making two versions of the same movie ... one starring a black cast; one with a white cast.
In Rough Night, starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer and Zoë Kravitz, things go pear-shaped during a rowdy bachelorette weekend in Miami. Girls Trip, starring Regina Hall, Queen Latifah, Jada Pinkett Smith and Tiffany Haddish, follows their drunken antics during a rowdy girls’ weekend in New Orleans.
Both movies ride on the success of R-rated hits such as The Hangover, except with all-female casts. That two movies have been made reiterates how focused studios still are on demographics. The idea that white audiences don’t want to watch black people is persistent, despite the success of films such as Moonlight, Hidden Figures and Get Out.
Girls Trip comes out at the beginning of August and Rough Night opened in theatres this week. It’s an excruciatingly funny, if crass, romp that I’m sure will be a hit. It also happens to be the first R-rated Hollywood comedy to be directed by a woman (Lucia Aniello of Broad City) in 20 years.
Scar Jo is refreshing and funny as career-driven bride-to-be Jess, and her troop of bridesmaids represents realistic archetypes of the girlfriends we all have.
Kate McKinnon as the free-spirited Australian Pippa steals the show – she cut her teeth on SNL and has an eccentric comedic delivery that puts her far above the rest.
What irked me about the film is that it’s sometimes just crass. Every second line is Bell screaming how they’re going to be “swimming in dicks”, Glazer (also from Broad City) calling Scar Jo the c-word for not taking cocaine, or Bell talking about her countless vibrators.
It’s as if Aniello is trying to prove that women can be just as dirty as men, but it just gets boring.
If you forgive the rudeness, though, this is a laugh-out-loud comedy perfect for a girls’ night out.
We’ll have to wait and see how Girls Trip holds up.