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A Night at the Roxbury

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: A Night at the Roxbury

Starring: Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan
Director: John Fortenberry
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 90 Minutes
Release Date: October 1998
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Dan Hedaya, Molly Shannon, Loni Anderson, Elisa Donovan, Richard Grieco, Michael Duncan

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

Two brothers with the sexual sophistication of AUSTIN POWERS and the IQs of DUMB & DUMBER lead a SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER life in A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY. Although the story is set in the late 1990s, the brothers live a disco life firmly grounded in the times of THE LAST DAYS OF DISCO and 54. Their lines are lifted straight out of JERRY MAGUIRE and one of their weddings is taken directly from THE GRADUATE. Other movies make guest appearances as well.

A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, featuring "Saturday Night Live" stars Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan as Steve and Doug Butabi, is a comedic groaner. This is a comedy, whose one joke consists of two guys bobbing their heads to the film's wonderfully energetic music. The joke wears thin very fast. Like synchronized swimmers, the brothers, always dressed gaudily in iridescent blues and purples, move their heads and hands to the pulse of the music wherever they are, whether it be in a crowded elevator or a car. The later is dangerous since Doug keeps breaking the car window with his dancing head. Everything the brothers do they do together, right down to their morning nose hair trimming ritual. They are their own 2-person drill team with perfectly coordinated movements.

Some of you will find funny their routine of putting candy in the nose of one brother and then in the mouth of the other. If so, then you are likely part of the target audience for A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY. Most viewers, however, will find it a film with a few genuine good laughs but not many.

Filmed by Francis Kenny in grainy, over-saturated colors, the movie has a cheap appearance that looks almost like it was shot on videotape and later transferred to film stock.

To the extent that the movie has a plot, it revolves around the two brothers' wanting to get into an exclusive disco-style nightclub named "The Roxbury." They want to talk the owner into funding their idea for a new style of club -- don't ask -- so they can stop working at their father's flower shop. In a film that works best at the physical comedy, the brother's dancing style comes straight from the NFL playbook for offensive tackles. A dangerous twosome to be around, they fling their partners around the room like steel balls in a pinball machine.

The brothers are two obnoxious 20-something virgins who make crude passes at every woman they meet, but their dates manage to outdo the guy's tacky come-on lines. "If I said you had a nice body," asks one of their dates. "Would you hold it against me?" Another explains her sexual sophistication. "Remember, I go to college," she remarks seriously. "Translation: Drunken orgies with occasional Cliff Notes."

If you've seen the movie's annoying trailers, you've already seen the best parts. Compared to A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY, the sporadically funny MAFIA! from earlier this summer is a comedic masterpiece.

This much is certain. After you leave the theater, even if you forget most of the lame humor, which is likely, the music will stay with you. Buy the CD and skip the movie.

A NIGHT AT THE ROXBURY runs just 1:27. It is rated PG-13 for brief nudity, sexual situations, and a little profanity and would be fine for kids 12 and up.

Copyright 1998 Steve Rhodes

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