A Night at the Roxbury (1998) / Comedy

MPAA Rated: PG-13 for sexual humor and language
Running Time: 81 min.

Cast: Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Dan Hedaya, Chazz Palminteri, Lochlyn Munro, Loni Anderson, Michael Clarke Duncan, Gigi Rice, Elisa Donovan, Richard Grieco, Colin Quinn, Meredith Scott Lynn, Jennifer Coolidge, Mark McKinney, Eva Mendes
Director: John Fortenberry
Screenplay: Steve Koren, Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan
Review published March 13, 2007

Based on the long-recurring skit on "Saturday Night Live", Will Ferrell (Austin Powers, Men Seeking Women) and Chris Kattan (Monkeybone, Corky Romano) play club-hopping brothers, Steve and Doug Butabi, who like to bob their heads and ask ladies to dance, only to not know how to do it well once they hit the dance floor. Their dreams are simple: they want to get into the famed Roxbury club, as they wait in line for hours only to be turned away every time. With the help of semi-star Richard Grieco (If Looks Could Kill, Mobsters), the brothers finally get their wish, befriending the club's owner, Mr. Zadir (Palminteri, A Bronx Tale), who is impressed by Doug's pitch to revolutionize his nightclub -- making the outside look like the inside and vice versa. With the meeting comes notoriety, and with notoriety, the women, but what will they do once the girls figure out that they are, by all accounts, total losers?

Even if you're a fan of the SNL characters upon which the movie is based, you will have to temper your expectations, as the humor value of their particular skit was a physical one-joke premise at best. Knowing that you can't make an entire movie about two guys who never speak and spaz out when trying to dance with women, the decision was made to give them speaking parts and a back story, although, as far as comedies go, this is still thin material padded out beyond its ability to sustain interest. It does help to be fans of Kattan and Ferrell, and while they aren't the best off-the-cuff actors, they are comical and likeable, which might be just enough to carry the load of the film for less discriminating viewers.

Most of the humor stems from the fact that their lifestyle is superficial and they love some cheesy songs and celebrities. Homage is paid to chick flick comedies like Say Anything, Clueless, and Jerry Maguire in respect for the knowingly female audience that it partially aims for. The adulation they have for such stars as Richard Grieco (who plays himself) and Emilio Estevez (used during a recurring gag in order to namedrop to women) is meant to be amusing. Most of the time it goes for laughs by trying to be so stupid, you have to laugh. Chazz Paliminteri's take on Mr. Zadir is to constantly ask various characters if they've grabbed his butt. Needless to say, your tolerance for this sort of utterly absurd comedy will definitely vary.

A Night at the Roxbury tries to be the next Wayne's World, except that the skit it was born from was only visual comedy, and the characterizations not remotely consequential. Essentially, it is a prolonged sight gag with a great deal of comic filler, only sporadically amusing and far from inspired. If you like the high-energy dance music and these comedic actors playing goofiness to the hilt, it's possible to be entertained enough, but don't expect to be doubled over with laughter. Like the 5-minute skit on SNL, it starts out with a funny premise, but it never really goes much of anywhere with it.

Qwipster's rating:

2007 Vince Leo