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Why the premise of "Rough Night" is a problem

Mar. 14, 2017
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There’s nothing like a wild-night-of-debauchery buddy comedy—and movies like Risky Business, Superbad, and The Hangover have the box-office receipts to prove it. And judging by the string of male-dominated movies currently presiding over the genre, it’s high time that ladies get in on the fun. As it happens, the new trailer—released last week—for Lucia Aniello’s Rough Night promises exactly that.

Except there’s a problem: as you might have picked up from the trailer, the entire premise of the film revolves around the accidental murder of a male stripper. And sex workers and their advocates are not happy about it.

Let’s face it: when it comes to job safety, sex workers have a pretty rough shake of it. Anti-sex-worker stigma can get strippers and escorts harassed, stalked, and even killed—not to mention the discrimination they face at school or in other professions if their work history becomes public. So why would somebody make a movie that treats the death of a stripper as its ultimate punchline?

Rough Night comes out on June 16—but if you’re in the mood for a female buddy comedy that doesn’t trade on violence against exploited workers for laughs, I suggest you wait until Girls Trip comes out on July 21.