|A Night at the Roxbury (1998)
Starring: Will Ferrell, Chris Kattan, Dan Hedaya, Molly Shannon
Director: John Fortenberry
Who knew that only five years after the release of “Night at the Roxbury,” Will Ferrell would be such a huge star? The feature-length adaptation of the popular “SNL” skit can hardly be considered the turning point in Ferrell’s big screen career, but it did prove that the funnyman could get a laugh out of even the silliest of roles. And boy is “Roxbury” silly – so much so, that despite its ridiculous premise, it still ranks alongside “Dumb and Dumber” as one of the better so-stupid-it’s-funny films of the past 20 years.
Adapting a skit about two club-happy brothers requires a little character development, and though Steve and Doug Butabi (Ferrell and Chris Kattan, respectively) are still paper-thin, they finally have something to do other than purposefully bump into hot girls. In the big screen rendition, the Butabi Brothers’ father (Dan Hedaya) runs a silk flower shop where they work part-time, but their one true passion remains the L.A. nightlife. Unfortunately, they never get into the clubs they want – instead standing outside hitting on women with the same story about an Emilio Estevez sighting. But when the brothers get into a fender bender with Richard Greico, the former “21 Jump Street” star gets them into the hottest club in town. It’s there that the Butabis meet hotshot club owner Benny Zadir (Chazz Palminteri), who immediately takes a liking to the boys and offers them a chance to utilize their expertise in order to open their very own club.
Obvious problems aside, “Night at the Roxbury” is actually an enjoyable flick, and one of my personal favorites from the late ‘90s. It’s a guilty pleasure in every sense of the phrase, and though it never quite enjoyed the same success as “Wayne’s World,” it’s just as good. Loaded with memorable one-liners and cameos, the film never takes itself too seriously, and for good reason. After all, “A Night at the Roxbury” is based on a three-minute skit whose funniest gag is based around an early prototype of the “not” joke. Not exactly highbrow stuff, but who ever said a comedy needed to be highbrow to enjoy?
Special Edition DVD Review:
Trying to improve on the previously released barebones edition of the film, the new special edition of “A Night at the Roxbury” offers a 24-minute making-of featurette (“Score! Reliving A Night at the Roxbury”), as well as short featurettes on costumes (“Roxbury Rags”), choreography (“Do That Dance”), and L.A. nightlife (“Making the List”). Overall, none of this was exactly necessary, but it’s a nice addition for anyone who hasn’t already purchased the film on DVD.