A joyless patience-tester so inept it doesn't even know how to cheat its own found-footage gimmick, Best Night Ever is the first non-spoof from Justin Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, the writing and directing duo behind Disaster Movie, Meet The Spartans, The Starving Games, and countless other films in which references and impressions are substituted for jokes. Likely to be appreciated only by homeless viewers who need a quiet place to nap during the cold months of winter, the movie has more awkward dead space than jokes; highlights include a long, static night-vision shot of the characters sitting inside of a dumpster (four minutes, 45 seconds long), a dialogue-free montage in which they visit famous locations around Las Vegas (seven minutes, 20 seconds), and a mugging scene that devotes 90 long seconds to a shot of the characters handing over their belongings one at a time.
Taking into account the movie’s eight minutes of closing credits and its six-minute opening scene, which consists of the characters driving around and introducing themselves to the camera, there isn’t much room left for jokes. Friedberg and Seltzer make the least of these remaining 50 or so minutes, stretching out a handful of tired gross-out setups to interminable length. Bored viewers may find themselves ascribing faux-artistic motives to the duo’s sense of time—e.g. “Is the minute-long shot of the characters inspecting semen stains in their motel room meant to evoke Cave Of Forgotten Dreams-like awe at the industriousness of man?”—in order to stay awake.
It’s not as though Friedberg and Seltzer are constrained by their premise. Though Best Night Ever is presented as footage shot by four thirtysomething women (Desiree Hall, Samantha Colburn, Eddie Ritchard, Crista Flanagan) over the course of an abortive Vegas bachelorette party, it routinely introduces multiple-angle cuts and non-diegetic music. Found-footage flicks typically break their rules in order to streamline narrative, or to build tension; Best Night Ever’s rule-breaking, however, serves only to over-stress unfunny punchlines. One late, lengthy sequence—which climaxes with one of the gals accidentally shitting on a man’s face—is an interstate pile-up of reaction shots, each cut introducing a new form of lame humor.
As bad as Friedberg and Seltzer are at delivering jokes, they’re even worse at writing them. Seemingly unable to come up with a gag centered on the female leads, they resort to a combination of male anatomy jokes interspersed with generic bar-hopping shenanigans, which are scored to songs that sound like “Party Rock Anthem,” but aren’t “Party Rock Anthem,” and presuppose that the idea of women drinking as inherently funny. Occasionally, they resort to racist body humor; the movie’s only black characters are naked the entire time that they’re on screen, their sex organs (the penis of a male stripper, the breasts of a woman who chases the partiers after they barge into her hotel room) serving as sources of discomfort and disgust. Considering the movie’s irredeemable ugliness and shoddiness, one eventually begins to suspect that Best Night Ever’s true purpose is to instill into viewers a newfound appreciation for its directors’ earlier work.