"Rough Night" is getting rough reviews after the film, directed and co-written by Lucia Aniello, was hyped as a rare R-rated comedy directed by a woman.
The movie stars Scarlett Johansson as uptight political candidate Jess, whose four female friends, played by Ilana Glazer, Zoë Kravitz, Kate McKinnon and Jillian Bell, throw an ill-fated bachelorette party that winds up in the death of a male stripper.
The movie is "good one minute, weak or stilted or wince-y the next, though even with seriously uneven pacing and inventiveness it's a somewhat better low comedy than 'Snatched' or 'Bad Moms,'" Michael Phillips wrote for the Chicago Tribune.
Writing for USA Today, Brian Truitt called the movie "the fuzzy metal handcuffs of raunchy comedies: At times it feels like a good thing but way too often reminds you that you’re trapped for an hour and a half."
But the movie has drawn kudos for adding a female voice to the genre.
Film critic Owen Gleiberman wrote for Variety that "what’s novel isn’t so much the plot as the spin, the female gaze, the inside-the-club sensibility. That, for all the cookie-cutter elements, is what’s fresh about the movie, and why it should find a solid audience."
In 2016, 7 percent of the 250 highest-grossing movies were directed by women, Business Insider reported.
"I think it's a big deal because it's my first movie, period," Aniello told Business Insider. "That's why it feels like a pretty big moment for me. The fact that there's this additional curse thing that has been broken, which I didn't know about until a few weeks ago, I just hope in some small way if this movie is able to pave the way for anybody else to make an R comedy by women for women, then I think it’s done its job."
Peter Travers also praised the actresses, writing in Rolling Stone that "the pleasure here is all in the actresses. … The women in 'Rough Night' are terrific company. They never wear out their welcome. You can't say the same for the movie."
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