The Quarantine Stream: ‘A Night at the Roxbury’ is One of the Stupidest Comedies That I Shamelessly Love
(Welcome to The Quarantine Stream, a new series where the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching while social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
The Series: A Night at the Roxbury
Where You Can Stream It: Amazon Prime Video and Hulu
The Pitch: Despite being well into adulthood, brothers Doug (Chris Kattan) and Steve Butabi (Will Ferrell) still live at home and work in the flower shop owned by their dad (Dan Hedaya). They exist only to hit on women at discos, though they’re routinely unsuccessful until a chance run-in with Richard Grieco (Richard Grieco) gets them inside the swank Roxbury club. Mistaken for high rollers, they meet their dream women, and resolve to open a club of their own.
Why It’s Essential Viewing: Movies based on Saturday Night Live sketches are rather difficult to pull off simply because it’s hard to expand a premise for a sketch that lasts only a few minutes into a full-fledged feature film. One of the less commendable attempts is undoubtedly A Night at the Roxbury starring Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan as the club-hopping, head-nodding losers who are always trying to dance with hot ladies with zero success. There’s no way that I can call this movie essential viewing, but I can tell you that I shamelessly love this stupid comedy thanks to the dimwitted antics of Ferrell and Kattan, who make for a hilarious pair of brothers whose arrested development results in some immature but entertaining gags.
Instead of just listing all the things I love about A Night at the Roxbury, I’m just going to revel in a few clips that have made me laugh for years and have been referenced endlessly by me, much to the chagrin of my friends, with the exception of one of them who loves it just as much as I do. They know who they are.
How do you fill an hour and a half movie with a Saturday Night Live sketch that only lasts a few minutes and has a one-note joke? You create choreographed car-dancing sequences where Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan are basically voguing into the camera. I can’t recommend you do this in your own car, but I’d be lying if I said that I hadn’t attempted to replicate this scene several times during my high school years. Am I an idiot? Absolutely. That’s it. That’s the end of this section.
It’s clear that Doug Butabi and Steve Butabi are a couple of clueless losers, and I absolutely love that their cool celebrity story that they use to unsuccessfully woo women involves Emilio Estevez turning away from a pay phone (remember pay phones?!) and tipping his hat in their general direction. Is this story real? If it’s made up, the situation is even funnier, because they have manufactured the most boring celebrity story of all time. But they’ve also given us free range to shout, “EMILIO!”
Fellow SNL cast member Molly Shannon also has a supporting role in A Night at the Roxbury, but she’s not the reason this scene is so funny. For me, it’s Chris Kattan angrily and haphazardly throwing plants into his father’s delivery van. The sound of the plants banging against the sliding door never fails to elicit a laugh from me.
Finally, it wouldn’t be A Night at the Roxbury without a dancing scene at the club, and this one does not disappoint. Not only does it make great use of “This Is Your Night” by Amber, but I will never get sick of seeing little Chris Kattan hanging off the towering Will Ferrell with just his legs wrapped around his waist. Sure, there might be a safety harness attached just to make sure Kattan doesn’t fall on his head, but that doesn’t make it any less majestic.
These are just a handful of scenes that bring a stupid smile to my face, and if you need a little bit of that right now, then all you need to do is throw this on and ask yourself one question; “What is love?”
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