starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Jillian Bell, Zoë Kravitz
screenplay by Lucia Aniello & Paul W. Downs
directed by Lucia Aniello
by Walter Chaw Going by the trailers, I thought Lucia Aniello's Rough Night was going to be a distaff Very Bad Things--which in the grand calculus of things would've been a very good thing. Peter Berg's masterpiece of bad behaviour and karmic vengeance is uncompromising, hilarious, vicious, and at least five or six years ahead of its time. (1998 was not kind to it.) The problem with this genre is essentially Judd Apatow, who, though fitfully funny, infects his pictures and their imitators--of which this is one--with a thick strain of conservative morality. His movies climax in marriage and monogamy and the very restoration of society. Very Bad Things ends with paralysis, death, and half-life; Rough Night ends by excusing everything, making sure everyone is friends and cool and shit, and explaining away why it is that the truly noxious character at the centre of it all is the way she is. Spoiler: it's because her mother is dying of Alzheimer's and she's trying to give her a rosy picture of her...you know what, never mind. Above and beyond any ugliness embedded in the film's premise and execution, the exploitation of this disease for some sort of moral reclamation is the ugliest. It's completely unnecessary. It's noxious.