A Night at the Roxbury

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Wealthy Yemeni-American brothers Steve (Will Ferrell) and Doug Butabi (Chris Kattan) enjoy frequenting nightclubs, where they bob their heads in unison to dance music (specifically Haddaway’s hit song “What Is Love”) and fail miserably at picking up women. Their dream is to party at the famous L.A. nightclub The Roxbury, a fabled nightclub where they are continually denied entrance by a hulking bouncer (Michael Clarke Duncan). By day, the brothers work at an artificial plant store owned by their wealthy father, Kamehl Butabi (Dan Hedaya). They spend most of their time goofing off, daydreaming about opening a club as cool as the Roxbury together, and Doug using credit card transactions as an excuse to hit on a phone approval operator. The store shares a wall with a lighting emporium owned by Fred Sanderson (Dwayne Hickman). Mr. Butabi and Mr. Sanderson hope that Steve and Emily (Molly Shannon), Sanderson’s daughter, will marry, uniting the families and the businesses to form the first plant-lamp emporium.

After a day at the beach the brothers decide that tonight is the night they will finally get into the Roxbury. Returning home, Doug gets into a heated argument with their father about going out clubbing instead of staying home. Their father has planned a dinner party with Emily and her parents. The angered Mr. Butabi then denies them access to their BMW car and their cell phones. They are given enormous cell phones by their mother (Loni Anderson) and allowed use of the fake-plant store’s delivery van, they are quickly rejected by the doorman (Michael Clarke Duncan). After discovering they might bribe their way into the club, the brothers drive around looking for an ATM. They get into a fender-bender with Richard Grieco (playing himself) and to avoid a lawsuit, Grieco uses his fame to get them into the popular club. There they meet the owner of the Roxbury, Benny Zadir (Chazz Palminteri), who listens to their idea for a nightclub of their own. He likes them and sets up a meeting with them for the next day. The brothers also meet a pair of women at the Roxbury: Vivica (Gigi Rice) and Cambi (Elisa Donovan), who see them talking to Zadir and think that the brothers are rich.

On the way to the afterparty at Mr. Zadir’s house, the brothers annoy his driver and bodyguard Dooey (Colin Quinn) by making him stop to buy fluffy whip and making jokes about sleeping with his parents. As revenge, the next day Dooey denies them entry into Zadir’s office for their meeting. He tells the brothers that Zadir was drunk out of his mind last night and does not know who they are. In reality, Zadir really wants to see them, but does not have their contact information. The girls break up with the Butabi brothers after realizing they are not really wealthy. The brothers fight and Doug moves out of their shared bedroom and into the guest house. Meanwhile Steve is forced into an engagement with Emily. The wedding is held in the backyard of the Butabi residence, but is interrupted by Doug. Having gone on a fluffy-whip-fueled bender, he interrupts the wedding, reconciles with his brother, and the wedding is called off. Afterwards, Richard Grieco (a guest at the wedding) talks to Mr. Butabi to help him understand that Steve was not ready for marriage, and that Butabi is too hard on Doug.

The movie ends as the Butabi brothers happen upon a hot new club. The building is unique in that the exterior is constructed to resemble the interior of a nightclub, and the interior resembles a street — this was an idea pitched by Doug and Steve to Zadir earlier in the movie. Attempting to enter, they are surprised to find their names on the VIP list. In addition, Zadir reveals that to reward their idea, he has made them part-owners of the club. Their new-found success comes full circle when they meet two women in the club: Doug’s phone representative from the credit card company (Meredith Scott Lynn) and a police officer (Jennifer Coolidge) whom Steve earlier flirted with while getting a ticket.

REVIEW:

In the late 90s, after the “frat pack” days of Saturday Night Live consisting of Adam Sandler, Rob Schneider, David Spade, Chris Farley, etc., we came across a nice little era that brought us a nice little sketch about a couple of brothers that were always in the club bobbing their heads to Haddaway’s “What is Love”. Who knew that this little sketch would turn into a pretty big film, A Night at the Roxbury.

What is this about?

Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell extend their “Saturday Night Live” skit about dimwit club-goers Doug and Steve Butabi, who gain entry to the swanky Roxbury nightclub after a run-in with Richard Grieco.

What did I like?

They live. If I recall, these guys didn’t speak in their sketch, but instead just made some noises when they were sandwich dry-humping some chick. It makes you wonder how they could even warrant having a full-length film. Well, someone had the idea that these are real guys with real lives and real problems. Wile it may not have been the best, it was better than what we already knew. Unlike The Coneheads and Wayne’s World, where we knew at least a little about the characters, more so with the Coneheads, these guys were just random barfly creeps., if you will.

Cast and cameos. Chris Kattan and Will Ferrell bring their characters to the big screen and give “life”, but it is the cameos from the likes of Richard Greico, Michael Clarke Duncan, Chazz Palminteri, and Loni Anderson that stood out to me. Not to mention a cast that brought in SNL darling Molly Shannon, fellow cast member Colin Quinn, character actors Dan Heyda, Lochlyn Munro, and a very young Jennifer Coolidge. They really keep this film rolling along, if you ask me. I kind of wish they would have found a way to bring in some of the guys that were with them in the sketches, though, specifically Jim Carrey or Sylvester Stallone.

Song. Ah, the late 90s…when total crap music could still make you get up and hit the dance floor….maybe with a little help from some drinks and a pretty girl *AHEM* Sorry, that’s a story for another time. I do recall hearing Haddaway’s “What is Love” over and over and over again. I think that just about the time it had died out, I seem to remember it being replaced by the “Macarena”, this sketch started and it was brought back to prominence. Now, 15 yrs later, I had nearly forgotten that it existed, but appreciate the cheesiness that it had, as well as the memories associated with it, both personally and involving the Roxbury Guys.

What didn’t I like?

Flimsy. The so-called “plot” is so flimsy, that I’m surprised the whole picture didn’t fly away when some walked by. My goodness gracious, I don’t believe these people thought to do anything with these characters other than bring them to the big screen. Also, it is quite predictable with the whole brothers splitting up only to be reunited at the wedding and meet up with the club owner at the club they told him about, and they just happen to find their dream girls there. It was way too easy to see that coming, at least for me.

Jump. Earlier I mentioned how I appreciated the cameos in this flick, and I really did. However, I have to wonder what rock they dug Richard Greico out from under to stick him in this. Granted he is playing himself and serves only to get the brothers in the Roxbury and set things right at the end. Considering how they idolized the guy, it seems he would have worked better as a guardian angel who just happened to take the form of Richard Greico.

Stretch. Of all the SNL films, this isn’t the worst, but it makes you come to the realization as to one of the reasons we don’t see anymore sketches brought to the big screen. Stretching these characters out to this point in order to force a film into production serves no real purpose. Making matters worse, The Blues Brothers are similar characters in terms of how much we know about them from the sketch, but the film version is regarded as on of the best SNL films. It just goes to show how far things have fallen, and don’t forget how horrible MacGruber  the latest from the studio, which was horrible, as well.

What can I say about A Night at the Roxbury? This is one of those films that appeals to some and appalls others. For me, it has moments, but is nothing special. I would watch it again and again, but that is more for nostalgia reasons. Do I recommend it? Yes, but only half-heartedly. Not everyone will like this. If you are a fan of the late 90s SNL sketches, then you’re more than likely love this. Otherwise, take your best guess as to whether or not you should check it out.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

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