Night at the Roxbury (1998) — What is love, if not to hurt me?

“Do you see planes? Is your name Tattoo? Because I think you’re living on Fantasy Island.”

Justin’s rating: nod nod nod nod nod nod nod

Justin’s review: There’s a scene midway through this movie where the principal characters, Doug and Steve Butabi, are standing in an elevator listening to muzak. It’s an electronica version of “What Is Love,” their theme song that’s played approximately 237 times during this movie. They just stand there, slowly bobbing their heads for a good long minute. That’s it: just standing, techno muzak, bobbing.

And I loved it.

One of the best lessons I learned in college was that it was cool to be uncool. And what’s more uncool than two obsessed club hoppers whose lives revolve around picking up hot women and dancing frantically to dance tracks?

Plot in five words: business plan, marriage track, uncoolness.

Obviously A Night At The Roxbury is not for those who whine and pout about movies being “too stupid.” Keep in mind these are the same people who eagerly froth over Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan being cutsy and cuddly. Yes, there’s a lot of idiotic visual humor here, but underneath is a complex, intricate plot that… no, no, no, I can’t lie to you. There is no underneath.

One of the most understated high points of modern cinema is when a director feels loose and free enough to throw in a musical dance number. There are a couple of shameless boogies that prompted me to wiggle back and forth on the couch, glad as hell that nobody came in. What’s wrong with cutting loose? With liking non-R&B dance tracks? With sticking a twizzlers into your brother’s nose and then eating it?

But even better than dance is the relationship between Doug (Chris Kattan) and Steve (Will Ferrell). They’re sweet and utterly dependent upon one another (akin to Strange Brew), since both brothers are necessary to maintain their twisted reality.

Roxbury dares you and your friends to stop imitating Pulp Fiction and start shaking vigorously in the car. I am there. Please join me.

Didja notice?

  • A great Say Anything spoof
  • The very last thing the credits say is ‘Try Power Bars’
  • All the references to 21 Jump Street
  • Great pickup lines

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