By Alan Scherstuhl
At least Rough Night, Lucia Aniello's dutifully raucous new bachelorette-party comedy, achieves verisimilitude. It's a rough watch and an evening killer, this film about friends who seem not to love, like or even really know one another.

The performers are excellent and they score some laughs, but their roles here amount to "the jealous friend" and "the progressive activist." The Australian pal (Kate McKinnon), arrived in America for the first time, whips out the Vegemite in her first minute of screen time and then immediately is called a "Kiwi" by jealous Alice (Jillian Bell), who announces a celebratory toast the moment anyone else tries to speak to the bride to be, Scarlett Johansson's Jess. Zoë Kravitz and Ilana Glazer play one-time lovers who, after this group's college heyday, went down their separate schematic paths, one upper-crust and the other crusty hippie. The question isn't whether these two will fall for each other all over again; it's whether the movie will relent in its hurlyburly long enough to allow them even a moment of connection before on the way.

Rough Night purports to celebrate women's friendship, and its final act turns on tears and hugs and a confessional message penned in a greeting card, but it never never makes these friendships look like anything but habit and hassle. Also not helping things: a sour, retrograde plot hook involving the women's accidental killing of a male stripper hired for the party. Still, Johansson rises above the script. Playing an everyday person for the first time in years, she makes her stiff straight woman a rounded, lively goof.
Lucia Aniello Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoë Kravitz, Jillian Bell, Ilana Glazer, Paul W. Downs Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs Sony Pictures

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