'90s Movie Month! "A Night at the Roxbury" Review

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

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'90s Movie Month! "A Night at the Roxbury" Review

Rating: PG-13
Length: 82 minutes
Release Date: Oct. 2, 1998
Directed by: John Fortenberry
Genre: Comedy

Fans of "Saturday Night Live" will appreciate the story and characters in "A Night at the Roxbury." SNL alums Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan star in this raucous comedy about two rather slow-minded brothers looking for their big break—a story that was the basis for many hilarious "Saturday Night Live" skits.

The story involves two brothers—Doug (Chris Kattan) and Steve Butabi (Will Ferrell)—who spend their days working at their wealthy father's artificial plant store and their nights frequenting local nightclubs in the hopes of picking up women, although they fail miserably and consistently at it. Their dream is to spend an evening at the Roxbury, one of the city's most popular nightclubs, but the club's bouncer (Michael Clarke Duncan) seems determine not to let that happen. The pair's ultimate goal is to open a nightclub as big and successful as the Roxbury.

Romance, or a lack of it, is a consistent theme throughout the film. Their father's store is situated next to a lighting emporium, and Kamehl Butabi (Dan Hedaya) and the lighting store's owner, Fred Sanderson (Dwayne Hickman), try to come up with a scheme to get Sanderson's daughter, Emily (Molly Shannon), to marry Steve so that the two families can be united.

The brothers finally decide that it is time for them to achieve their goal. After a fight with their parents, they head off in the company van but are quickly dismissed by the Roxbury's bouncer again. The duo head off to a nearby ATM to get cash so that they can bribe their way in, but they wind up in a car accident at the hands of Richard Grieco (playing himself). In an effort to avoid any type of paperwork or lawsuit, Grieco gets them into the club, where they meet the Roxbury's owner, Benny Zadir (Chazz Palminteri). Zadir graciously listens to the brothers' idea for a new nightclub and sets up a meeting with them for the following day.

Zadir sends a car to pick up the brothers for the meeting, but they manage to annoy and insult the chauffeur, Dooey (Colin Quinn), in short order. To get revenge, Dooey tells them that Zadir was drunk when he met them the previous day and doesn't remember who they are. The brothers return home, and Steve moves ahead with a marriage to Emily. The day of the wedding, Doug manages to stop the ceremony, and Richard Grieco, who was a wedding guest, manages to make the boys' father understand that he was being too hard on them.

The reunited brothers head out for one more evening on the town and come across a new nightclub that is very similar to the idea they had pitched to Zadir so long ago. As they enter the club, they see their names on the VIP list. The run into Zadir, who reveals to them that this club was their idea and that he has made them both partners in it as a reward. Just before the film ends, Doug finds true love with a credit card company operator (Meredith Scott Lynn) he had been trying to woo for some time, and Steve hooks up with a female police officer (Jennifer Coolidge), whom he had a chance meeting with previously when she gave him a traffic ticket.

Although "A Night at the Roxbury" opened to mixed reviews, it grossed more than $30 million in sales at the box office in the United States alone. Despite its star-studded cast and hilarious plot, some critics believed that the concept was better suited for short sketches like those seen on SNL previously.

Leading man and comedian Will Ferrell was fairly new to the big screen when the movie was filmed. Prior to "A Night at the Roxbury," he had only appeared in two feature-length movies: "Men Seeking Women" and "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." His career skyrocketed after the film opened, and he went on to play the lead roles in many other hit comedies, including "Bewitched" and "Elf." Ferrell has won five awards and was nominated for 47 others, including two Golden Globes.

Like Ferrell, Chris Kattan was also a silver-screen newbie when he was cast in "A Night at the Roxbury," and his career also took a leap forward after the movie's debut. He has since appeared in several movies, including "Undercover Brother" and "Crazy Enough."

"A Night at the Roxbury" took a popular "Saturday Night Live" skit and brought it to life, complete with a cast made up largely of SNL alums. Although comedy is the goal of the movie, it also tells the story of brotherly love, loyalty, and dreams for the future.

Rating: 3 out of 5