A Night at the Roxbury

A Night at the Roxbury. Paramount Pictures 1998.
A Night at the Roxbury. Paramount Pictures 1998.

Before watching the movis:

I couldn’t have said for certain whether there was more than one sketch (that I didn’t care much care for) with these characters on Saturday Night Live, but the existence of a movie makes it plain this was a recurring thing, I expect the feature film format to bring some characterization and an SNL movie is usually not a bad use of 90 minutes.

After watching the movie:

Steve and Doug Butabi spend their nights trying to get into clubs and not get thrown out of them once they’re inside, but by day they’re supposed to work for their father’s silk flower shop. The only thing they want more than to get into the Roxbury is to run their own club one day, one where they’ll treat wannabes like themselves equally to the big stars. When model/actor Richard Grieco runs into their van in a street-illegal racing car, the only thing Steve and Doug want is to go to the Roxbury. Grieco introduces them to the owner of the club, and a couple of gold diggers assume these new guys who are so chummy with the club owner must be wealthy business partners, and make their moves. The sudden realization of pretty much all of their dreams clashes with the reality of their father’s expectations, which in turn puts a strain on their own relationship as adult brothers who live with their parents and share a bedroom.

Putting these guys in a story does make me like them more. They’re clueless about how to attract women and be cool enough to get in a club, but they’re really sweet when they don’t have to put on the act. Just pretty standard loveable idiots who think they have the secret to get what they want if only they could apply it correctly.

One thing I appreciated was the direction of using romance tropes in the brothers’ relationship. It’s played for comedy, but it underscores the slim difference between romance and buddy story, and I liked a family relationship superseding an actual romantic pairing. While they get prize women for making it through to the end, their most important relationship is with each other.

There are probably people out there who think of this as a classic, or at least a cult favorite, and people who consider it a low point in cinema, but this is simply mildly enjoyable to me. Disposable entertainment, as forgotten the next day as a night of clubbing.

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