During the course of Best Night Ever‘s best night ever, it’s often unclear what we’re watching. The Hangover for girls? An improbable documentary about the perils of white privilege? Extra-softcore porn?
Producer Jason Blum, who also produced the Paranormal Activity franchise, applies the horror series’ shaky-cam to this comedy about four women (Desiree Hall, Samantha Colburn, Eddie Ritchard, and the cherubic Crista Flanagan — bless her, she nearly saves it) who drive out to Vegas for a glam bachelorette party and, after a series of outlandish plot devices, wind up penniless, shoeless, and singing 4 Non Blondes a cappella with the resident of a dumpster.
While this production style, fraught with obstructed views and marathon takes, builds suspense and can make for some real starts and even scares within the horror genre, it doesn’t seem to translate to comedy. Instead, it affords viewers ample time to predict the joke, laugh, and then grow weary before the punch line. And that punch line, here, almost always goes for the cheap shock. Racial minorities are portrayed as caricatures, often grotesquely so.
And aside from being impressively gross — ask Lena Dunham or Tina Fey’s Liz Lemon or any bridesmaid in Bridesmaids, that’s a requisite for feminism these days — the central quartet of ladies is just too insipid to be believed as friends or humans. They make that “woo” sound a lot, maybe as a placeholder for witty dialogue that nobody got around to looping in later.
At best a fascinating sociological document of what happens when an all-male writing and production team portrays a girls’ night out, Best Night Ever seems marketed to women but made for frat house consumption.