Kate McKinnon plays an Australian in Rough Night, a shrewd gender-reversal of sloppy-drunk bro comedies like Bachelor Party, Very Bad Things, and The Hangover.
T are some twists and turns of the plot in Rough Night – twists and turns lifted from all of its predecessors, especially the accidental-killing-of-a-stripper gambit of Very Bad Things – but it’s mostly a frantic accumulation of jokes, staked on group chemistry and seat-of-the-pants audacity.
Casting a non-Australian to be Australian for no essential reason is the first clue that Rough Night will be going after laughs at whatever random place it can find them.
Getting the night started turns out to be the toughest part.
After an extended prologue establishes the bond between four hard-partying college friends a decade earlier, Rough Night has the laborious task of yadda-yadda-ing through their individual lives before bringing them together for a bachelorette weekend in Miami Beach.
Her buttoned-down life has put some distance between herself and Alice, her crass college dorm-mate; her other friends, Frankie and Blair, have their own problems, like a former romance that didn’t end gracefully.
It’s also another example of Rough Night committing to an off-the-wall comic idea and going all the way with it.
Rough Night isn’t satisfied with being the latest in ladies-can-be-raunchy-too comedies, though it does pull a fun role reversal by making Peter’s bachelor party a staid affair, with the guys comparing notes at a wine tasting.
Rough Night may be a shameless comedy, but it’s also a comedy without shame.