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Film / Rough Night

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"I know that things are crazy right now, but you're gonna have a lot of material for my wedding speeches."

Rough Night is a 2017 black comedy directed by Lucia Aniello (in her feature-length directorial debut) and co-written by Paul W. Downs (both of Comedy Central's Broad City), distributed by Columbia Pictures.

Jess (Scarlett Johansson) —a young politician running for office— is getting married to Peter (Downs), prompting her best friend Alice (Jillian Bell) to plan a wild bachelorette weekend in Miami. Joining them are their college pals Frankie (Ilana Glazer) and Blair (Zoë Kravitz), as well as Jess' Australian friend Pippa (Kate McKinnon).

After a night of debauchery, their getaway turns dark when they're accidentally responsible for the death of a male stripper. Amidst brewing paranoia and panic, the women scramble to cover the tracks and avoid getting caught, and the night only gets weirder from there.

Ty Burrell, Demi Moore, Bo Burnham, Dean Winters, and Colton Haynes also appear in minor roles.

Rough Night contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Aiming Skills: Alice manages to shoot one of the other criminals in the leg despite the fact that she's shooting from her thigh under another man's leg.
  • Accidental Hero: Peter saves the day by crashing his car through the front of the house while high on crystal meth, killing the last of the jewel thieves. He passes out right afterwards, and it's not entirely clear if he even realizes what happened.
  • Accidental Murder: The plot of the film hinges on this trope.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Alice initially calls Pippa "Kiwi" as an insult (it's a common term for New Zealanders, while Pippa is Australian), but by the end of the film, Pippa has adopted it as a sign of friendship.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Frankie and Blair come back from buying a cellphone and find the others in the garage trying to hide the body, they ask what they're doing.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: An argument between Jess and Alice features this. Jess is angry about Alice trying to monopolize her time, being jealous of both Pippa and Peter, and that Alice refuses to accept that the fun times they had in college are in the past; Alice, meanwhile, accuses Jess of losing touch with her friends and no longer caring about how close the two best friends are supposed to be. Neither of them are depicted as right or wrong, and they're both shown working on their personal issues afterwards.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In the flashback to 2005, Alice is mocked for giving a guy a footjob, which she admits is true (and provides details about the best way to go about it). At the wedding, Scotty (the real stripper) compliments Alice on her feet, implying that he'd be interested in the same.
    • Early on, Alice is mildly ashamed of eating some penis-shaped pasta dry. In The Stinger, she finds the stolen diamonds in a box of the same pasta she was planning to have for dinner, and eats a dry piece of it in shock.
  • The Cameo: Bob the Drag Queen (winner of RuPaul's Drag Race season 8) appears as a DJ in one of the club scenes.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Pippa comes across as very odd, with a quirky speech pattern and at one point, falling asleep and waking up thinking that the evening's events had all been just a dream. She attributes at least some of it to jet lag.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: Played with; the protagonists do see a television broadcast revealing that the dead man was actually a jewel thief, as well as revealing that the two men who came to their house are actually the thief's accomplices, but in this case the TV was already on; it had been set to mute since the bachelorette party began and Pippa glanced at the TV at just the right time.
  • Cool Teacher: Alice claims that her students see her as this, and their favorite adult.
  • Cranial Eruption: The real stripper gets a Tap on the Head that leaves a noticeable bump on his forehead that lasts until the next day through the wedding.
  • Corruption of a Minor: Both Played for Drama and Played for Laughs. Alice is convinced that it will inspire her students to start committing crimes themselves.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jess gets a few quips in. For example, when Blair complains about the corpse not sinking into the ocean as planned, calling men in general unreliable, Jess responds with the following:
    Jess: Yeah, how dare they not sink when we murder them.
  • Department of Child Disservices: Both Played for Drama and Played for Laughs. Blair is scared that being arrested will make her lose custody of her son.
  • Disposable Sex Worker: The girls feel guilty for accidentally killing a stripper. It later turns out he wasn't actually a stripper, but a drug dealer.
  • Distaff Counterpart: Many have compared this film's premise and tone to that of The Hangover. It also feels like a somewhat Lighter and Softer Very Bad Things.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: While struggling with one of the jewel thieves, Jess' robe falls open and the thug stops to stare for a second with an impressed "whoa". Jess calls him a perv before they resume fighting.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: As they think they're about to be shot by the criminals, Frankie and Blair hold hands and affirm that they still love each other before Jess steps in to save them.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the stress and worry of the evening's events, in the end, the women face no legal repercussions for all the tsuris, Jess wins her election, Blair and Frankie renew their relationship, the friends become closer than ever, the wedding goes off without a hitch, and Alice hooks up with Scotty at the wedding and later discovers a fortune's worth of diamonds hidden in a box of pasta.
  • Everyone Can See It: Pippa picks up on the tension between Blair and Frankie fairly quickly.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Downplayed as their relationship was just awkward rather than hostile, but when Blair admits that she's getting divorced from her husband, she says that she didn't bring it up before because she didn't want Frankie to judge her, and Frankie softly assures Blair that she'd never do such a thing about what's clearly a difficult topic for Blair.
  • Extremely Short Timespan: Told primarily over one crazy night.
  • Gaydar: Pippa quickly discerns that Blair was involved with Frankie. They get back together later.
  • Heroic BSoD: Played for Laughs after it turns out that Blair slept with neighbors for nothing. Shortly after, she has a Thousand-Yard Stare and recounts the encounter in a distant tone (while peeing). Her friends largely shrug it off and Blair herself recovers quickly.
  • Heroic Seductress: Blair seduces the neighbors into a threesome to get access to their security camera footage. It turns out to be All for Nothing since the camera doesn't work (they'd gotten the first three months for free, then didn't bother to pay for the service), but at least the sex was good.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Scotty (the real stripper who is also a prostitute) turns out to be this and hooks up with Alice at Jess' wedding.
  • I Didn't Mean to Kill Him: Alice takes the stripper's death the worse, since she inadvertently caused it.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Blair gets quite loud while Lea is eating her out.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Because they essentially performed a drug bust and disarmed three dangerous men, the night's events actually end up boosting Jess' campaign popularity and turns them into media sensations.
  • Lipstick Lesbian: Blair and Frankie, two femme women, both turn out to have dated in college. During the film Blair also hooks up with a man and woman at once, and is in the middle of a divorce that includes a custody hearing for their son, so she's probably bisexual. Near the end, Blair and Frankie get back together.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Jess and Peter are a downplayed example; Jess is assertive, confident, sports Boyish Short Hair and her bachelorette party is a wild night in Miami with drinking, drugs, and a stripper, while Peter is nebbish, submissive, and his bachelor party consists of a quiet wine tasting with a few close friends.
  • Meaningful Background Event: The TV in the background is constantly tuned to a news channel and muted. This comes up when Pippa notices a report on the three bank robbers.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: It later becomes apparent that the man they killed wasn't actually their hired stripper, but a drug dealer going along with it. The real stripper arrives later.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: Peter is propositioned for (paid) sex while doing auto favors at a truck stop for gas money.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The five women could have solved the problem if they'd just reported the death straight away; Blair's uncle confirms that under the circumstances described to him, the death could have been easily ruled as an accident, but when they moved the body to hide it from view until they could call the uncle for advice they compromised the crime scene.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever Blair's uncle advised Rob Lowe about; apparently, the words "if there's no body, there's no case" became relevant.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: Combined with Fake Out Makeout when Pippa pretends to be kissing the dead man when the neighbors spot them on the beach.
  • One Crazy Night: The women's plan for a bachelorette weekend goes awry when they accidentally kill a stripper.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: McKinnon's Australian accent is... let's say dynamic.
  • Opposites Attract:
    • Jess and Peter; she's an assertive, confident politician while he's submissive and nebbish. Despite her being way out of his league (as Peter's own friends admit), their relationship is rock solid.
    • Blair and Frankie; Blair is classy, well off, fashionable, and mature, while Frankie is an unkempt, dubiously employed Granola Girl and womanchild. By the end of the movie, they admit to still being in love and get back together when all is said and done.
  • The Peeping Tom: All of Blair's friends watch by using binoculars when she's having sex with Lea and Pietro.
  • Poor Communication Kills: A misheard phone call sets Peter off on a desperate drive to win back his fiancee. Of course, he didn't actually need to win her back, but Hilarity Ensues nonetheless. By coincidence, the miscommunication actually does kill someone, as Peter accidentally kills the last of the criminals when he crashes his car through the front door of the beach house.
  • Profiling: Discussed after the murder by Blair. She objects to turning themselves in to the police because she's black and the rest of them aren't, meaning she'll receive harsher punishment for a crime she may have not committed herself.
  • Properly Paranoid: Pippa, for pointing out that, legal troubles aside, the dead man's friends or relatives could come looking for them and could be dangerous people for all they know.
  • Shirtless Captives: Scotty is mostly naked when the drug dealers hold himself and the girls up.
  • Soapbox Sadie: Frankie is seen leading a protest right before leaving for Miami.
  • Stripper/Cop Confusion: The actual stripper Frankie hired arrives to the house dressed as a cop pretending to arrest her for what she assumes to be the drug dealer's murder.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Blair has one after finding out that she slept with the neighbors for nothing due to the broken cameras.
  • Threeway Sex: Blair reluctantly sleeps with Pietro and Lea, the horny neighbors, since she's worried that their security cameras caught the homicide. Although she seems to enjoy it at the time, she's quite unhappy to learn it was All for Nothing afterward, because their cameras don't work.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Downplayed but Frankie, Blair and Alice do get a stripper Jess didn't want behind her back and urge her to do drugs with them.
  • Twofer Token Minority: Blair, a black woman, is the only person of color and she's also bisexual.
  • Unexplained Recovery: At one point, Pippa runs a jetski aground at full speed and lands on her neck with a Sickening "Crunch!". Both the other characters and the viewers are convinced she's dead... but she just gets up and shakes it off and it's never brought up again.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted. When all is said and done, the diamonds appear to be unaccounted for. In The Stinger, however, Alice returns home, reaches for a box of pasta left over from the bachelorette party for dinner, and discovers the diamonds hidden within.