Monday, July 16, 2012

Review: "A Night at the Roxbury" is Sometimes Funny (Happy B'day, Will Ferrell)

TRASH IN MY EYE No. 154 (of 2004) by Leroy Douresseaux

A Night at the Roxbury (1998)
Running time: 98 minutes (1 hour, 38 minutes)
MPAA – PG-13 for sex related humor, language and some drug content
DIRECTOR: John Fortenberry
WRITERS: Steven Koren and Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan
PRODUCERS: Amy Heckerling and Lorne Michaels
EDITOR: Jay Kamen
COMPOSER: David Kitay


Starring: Chris Kattan, Will Ferrell, Dan Hedaya, Molly Shannon, Richard Grieco, Loni Anderson, Lochlyn Munro, Michael Clarke Duncan, Dwayne Hickman, Meredith Scott Lynn, Colin Quinn, Elisa Donovan, Gigi Rice, Jennifer Coolidge, and (uncredited) Chazz Palminteri

The subject of this movie review is A Night at the Roxbury, a 1998 American comedy film starring Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell. The film is based on the long-running “Saturday Night Live” skit called “The Roxbury Guys,” which also featured Kattan and Ferrell. Amy Heckerling, the director of such films as Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Look Who’s Talking, and Clueless, is one of the film’s producers, and she also apparently directed some of this film.

Doug (Chris Kattan) and Steve Butabi (Will Ferrell) are the Roxbury Guys, a long-running skit Kattan and Ferrell performed while they were “Saturday Night Live” cast members. The Butabi Brothers go club hopping, always trying to get in the hottest spot, the hottest spot being, The Roxbury. In A Night at the Roxbury, one of many films adapted from Saturday Night Live skits, the Butabi boys want to open their own club, one as hot as The Roxbury.

Of course, they face many obstacles. Their father Kamehl (Dan Hedaya) wants Steve to marry Emily Sanderson (Molly Shannon) so that he could merge his plastic plant business with Emily’s father’s lamp shop. Doug doesn’t like Emily, and Kamehl doesn’t think much of his son Doug’s intelligence. It doesn’t help that the boys live at home with their parents, so Kamehl is always in their business. They finally get a break when they meet The Roxbury’s owner, Mr. Zadir (Chazz Palminteri), who likes the boys and wants to go in business with them. Zadir’s assistant, Dooey (Colin Quinn) hates the Butabi boys and runs interference to keep them from having that meeting crucial with Mr. Zadir about opening a club. Meanwhile, Emily and Kamehl set a date for the wedding, and Doug severs his close relationship with his brother over the wedding. Will the Butabi Bros. get back together in time to open their dream club?

A Night at the Roxbury is only funny when Kattan and Ferrell are onscreen, and then it’s mostly for their silliness, not for their acting. The film just seems to meander through its plot, and one can’t help but get the feeling that this film is going nowhere, so the Butabi’s desperately need to be on the screen for this film to be tolerable. For all its dilly-dallying, the film suddenly drops its ending in your lap, but other than a few laughs, this is, at best, a temporary distraction. It is a testament to the leads’ styles, that they elicit laughs from mediocre material (material that is surprisingly mediocre when one considers that Clueless director Amy Heckerling and comedy superstar Jim Carrey made substantial uncredited contributions to this film), and their comedic gifts make A Night at the Roxbury worth watching.

5 of 10


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