It’s been 15 years since Will Ferrell’s and Chris Kattan’s iconic comedy Night at the Roxbury was released, and their classic (which they co-wrote with Steve Koren) still rocks, for several reasons. It’s a Buddy movie with purpose, and with important variations on the usual Buddy movies.
1) It’s a Buddy movie that doesn’t involve driving across country — for whatever reason. The only place these brothers drive is to the dance clubs, most of which they can’t get into. But they have a reason for driving to these clubs: they want to open one of their own and be successful businessmen. Their driving has purpose. These Buddies want to live The American Dream.
Whenever the two Brother-Buddies do drive, however, they’re usually head-dancing to Haddaway’s “What is Love”, which is the major theme of the movie, and the love here is between the brothers, always and forever. In one of the best car scenes, they car-Vogue to a song (in a funny take on Madonna’s “Vogue” video).
2) When these Buddies aren’t driving in search of a night club that will let them in — trying to make contacts so they can open their own night club — they’re Buddy-walking — because that’s the kind of Buddies they are — to the beat of The Bee Gees “Stayin’ Alive,” without ever spilling a drop of their Starbucks Fraps.
3) The Brother-Buddies have a clearly defined goal in their meanderings: to get into the famed Roxbury night club (owned by “Did you just grab my ass?” Zadir [Chazz Palminteri]), which these two Buddies want to see so they can compare it to their own idea of a successful night club.
When they finally make it into the Roxbury, by accident of circumstances, they engage in synchronized dancing / Vogue-ing / and “ass-grabbing” in one of the silliest yet bet choreographed club dance scenes of all times (with two smoking hot babes, Vivica (Gigi Rice) and Cambi (Elisa Donovan) who, thinking the brothers are rich, finally match their own disco moves to those of the wild Butabi Brothers.
4) Brotherly love triumphs over all other types of love and commitment in this Buddy movie, even to the point of Doug’s (Chris Kattan) saving his brother Steve (Will Ferrell) from a family-proposed / arranged marriage so that the two Buddies can find happiness together, opening their dream night club.
5) Finally, this hilarious yet ingenious take on Buddy movies has a memorable soundtrack. Along with the songs mentioned above, it includes scenes featuring Bruce Springsteen’s haunting “Secret Garden,” R.E.M.’s lovely ballad “Everybody Hurts,” and N-Trance’s techno version of “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” featuring Rod Stewart.
This film may not have done well initially at the box-office, and been panned by high-browed movie critics, but since its release, Night at the Roxbury has become a cult classic, mainly because of its awesome Buddy-movie variation into a depiction of true brotherly love and of The American Dream, its classically choreographed silly dance moves, and its wide-ranging, impressive soundtrack.
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