Bil’s rating (out of 5): B. USA, 2017. Paulilu Productions, Sony Pictures Entertainment. Screenplay by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs. Cinematography by Sean Porter. Produced by Lucia Aniello, Dave Becky, Paul W. Downs, Matthew Tolmach. Music by Dominic Lewis. Production Design by Ryan Heck. Costume Design by Leah Katznelson. Film Editing by Craig Alpert.
All the elements should combine into something that works and yet very little in this comedy does. Take the common plot of a Boys Will Be Boys indulgence (bachelor party, drugs and booze, a dead hooker, etc.) and flip the gender as four girls who have been best friends since college fly to Miami for political hopeful Scarlett Johansson‘s last weekend of fun before marriage. While her fiance (Paul W. Downs) enjoys a quiet weekend at a cabin tasting wine with his buddies, Johansson is keeping things lit with successful capitalist Zoë Kravitz, dedicated (and unemployed) social activist Ilana Glazer and kindergarten teacher Jillian Bell, who set the whole thing up to begin with. Bell’s insecurity about her friendship with Johansson is set afire when the bride-to-be’s newer friend from Australia (Kate McKinnon) shows up and throws the balance off, but that’s nothing compared to everything else they have coming their way: a skeezy couple (Demi Moore, Ty Burrell) who want the girls to fulfill their swinger fantasies and, worst of all, the need to get rid of a body after a hustler is paid to show up and entertain them but dies in a freak accident. This all sounds like a winner, the kind of thing that you show up for with the right expectations and get the right results, but the whole thing is, surprisingly, an unbelievable fail: a group of actors who do not need to prove themselves capable of great comedy somehow have no chemistry with each other (Bell, who has been stealing scenes in movies like Office Christmas Party and 22 Jump Street is especially underserved in her first major screen role). Downs and co-writer Lucia Aniello, who also directs, wisely see the value in a female Hangover but can’t manage to inject any irony into the dead-on-the-nose cliches that they are having fun putting in feminine hands. Aniello’s direction kills the pulse at every possible opportunity with slack pacing and a lack of spontaneity, so that by the time you get to the part where the girls are propping a dead body up and pretending he’s alive, Weekend At Bernie‘s style, you’re almost embarrassed to look. McKinnon, who is a bona fide movie star, somehow manages to get away clean thanks to the sparkle that her comedy provides under even the worst circumstances, but the rest of the cast (including a very uncomfortable looking Moore) better hope no one remembers this one for long.