COCAINE and bachelorettes are not a smart mix – at least on film.
That is the lesson learnt from Leslye Headland’s Bachelorette and – five years later – Lucia Aniello’s Rough Night. Two films that are strikingly similar and equally disappointing.
Both centre around old, disconnected friends who reunite for drug and drink-fuelled bachelorette parties that quickly spiral out of control.
In Bachelorette a chaotic night of events is sparked by a ripped dress. The group of intoxicated and damaged women set out to repair the unknowing bride’s wedding gown only to damage it further – with semen and blood. The night then becomes just as much about repairing themselves than the dress as they become preoccupied by their own unhappy and unrewarding positions in life.
Rough Night follows similar lines although the cause of chaos takes the slightly more sinister form of a dead body. The panicked bachelorettes must then find a way to deal with the body – and with each other – while exposed by the giant windows of their beachside apartment. An experience that, like the women in Bachelorette, also exposes the women’s need to confront and take hold of their lives.
Aniello’s film may have a dead body and higher stakes, but there is much more life shown from Bachelorette’s accomplished cast. Kirsten Dunst and Lizzy Caplan turn in performances that go some way beyond the uninspired material they are given. Meanwhile Isla Fisher is wasted on ditzy duty.
Rebel Wilson, who plays the stay-in bride-to-be, is more subdued compared to her most notable role as Pitch Perfect’s shameless Fat Amy. She even ditches her Aussie accent- a gesture I would not have minded had it not been picked up in rather irritating fashion five years later by Kate McKinnon for Rough Night. The less said about that the better.
Scarlett Johansson is to Rough Night what Dunst and Caplan are to Bachelorette. It is a shame that this foray into less serious, comedic material was a complete wash out for Johansson.
There are fun moments in both, but nowhere near enough to hold interest for an entire film. Instead they rely on an onslaught of sleazy jokes in what turns out to be an all too formulaic and predictable drug-fuelled night.
Rough Night is like a drunk in high heels walking behind the slightly less inebriated Bachelorette and still slipping on the exact same cracks in the road.
A rough time all round. More coke than jokes. Let’s not do it again.
This was review 12&13/30 in April’s Monthly Film Challenge – Female Filmmakers.