Best Night Ever
Taglines: The hangover will be the easy part.
Bride-to-be Claire, her sister Leslie, fun-loving Zoe, and quirky new friend Janet set off to Las Vegas for a one-night bachelorette party that turns out to be more than they bargained for. A series of unexpected adventures including, getting kicked out of a strip club, being mugged and getting pummeled by the Las Vegas’ reigning gelatin-wrestling champion, Veronica, rip them from the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip and places them smack dab in Vegas’ seedy underbelly.
Determined to keep their bachelorette party dreams alive, the girls band together and embark on the wildest night in bachelorette party history. Fueled by sex and booze, this raunchy, riotously hilarious, out-of-control, blow-out is, for better or worse, all caught on tape. And is destined to go down as the Best Night Ever.
About the Production
Best Night Ever was shot on location in Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Las Vegas over three weeks in July and August of 2012. Written and Directed by Aaron Seltzer & Jason Friedberg, the team behind such spoofs as Meet The Spartans, Date Movie and Vampires Suck, BEST NIGHT EVER offered a departure from their usual fare. Though the Vegas locale and general scenario drew common comparisons to films like The Hangover series, Bridesmaids and Bachelorette, the filmmakers sought out to create an original fictional film, and given the low budget and experimental shooting style, one that Friedberg and Seltzer could really have fun with.
Shooting Best Night Ever was like being on tour with your favorite rock n’ roll band. We steam-rolled through our shoot the way AC/DC stream-rolls through an awesome set. There was action and comedy and excitement each day of the shoot. In a lot of ways the shoot reflected the story of the movie, it didn’t matter if things went wrong we were determined to do what we had to do to get it shot and have a fun time doing it. The shoot took us everywhere, from a seedy hotel in the shadows of Los Angeles, to 90° nights in Palm Springs, to the always nostalgic Downtown Strip in Las Vegas.
Joined by frequent collaborators in DP Shawn Maurer (Date Movie, Meet The Spartans, Black Dynamite) and Production Designer Bill Elliott (Super, Scary Movie 3, Disaster Movie), Friedberg and Seltzer leapt into pre-production in May of 2012. The film was to be shot “found footage” style – as rough and raw as a night-out-gone-wrong in Vegas could be.
BEST NIGHT EVER follows the story of four girls and their quest to find some form of debauchery in Las Vegas before one of their number (Claire) gets married. After their rather unceremonious arrival, hijinks do indeed ensue, leaving the audience to conclude that in BEST NIGHT EVER, the hangover was definitely the easy part.
The four girls, played by Desiree Hall (Claire), Samantha Colburn (Leslie), Eddie Ritchard (Zoe), and Crista Flanagan (Janet), do their very best to have a good time in Las Vegas. When a malfunctioning credit card keeps them out of Caesar’s Palace, the group checks into a less than desirable motel many miles from the heat of the strip. It’s the sort of place where you’d want to check the linens with your iPhone blacklight app, then regret that it was invented in the first place. The girls were fantastic. They brought the characters of Claire, Leslie, Zoe and Janet to life. They really made us feel that these girls had been through a lot together in their lives and would stick together through the misadventures of a Las Vegas bachelorette party.
Undaunted by their situation, the girls head out to a male strip club and are promptly removed, get robbed, engage in underground Jello-wrestling, and for all intents and purposes, go on a quite ridiculous bender the likes of which audiences have never seen before.
Going into full prep in June of 2012, the filmmakers were faced with several challenges. The main portion of the film would shoot in Los Angeles with several days of pick-ups in Palm Springs at a casino and in Las Vegas at hotels and the strip. The back streets of North Hollywood and Sherman Oaks were chosen to double for Las Vegas off the strip. A prominent Indian Casino in Palm Springs was used to double Caesar’s Palace.
It also served as a suitable setting for an unforgettable confrontation later in the film involving the four girls, a very skinny, very naked man and a very large and also very naked woman. It isn’t often that one asks an establishment permission to clear several floors of patrons in order to stage a series of naked people chasing fifty extras down a corridor, but this occurred several times in Best Night Ever.
To handle the day-to-day slings and arrows of production on the film, Friedberg & Seltzer partnered with longtime collaborator and veteran Producer Peter Safran (The Conjuring, Hours, Scary Movie) as well as micro-budget mogul Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Insidious, The Purge.) Joining them on the producing front were Co-Producer Dan Clifton (ATM, The Den, Hours) and Associate Producer Kenny Yates.
Jason and Aaron were excited to shoot a no-holds barred R-rated comedy and their excitement was contagious for the crew. Everyone was really excited to be working on this film. We really felt the passion for the project and did everything we could to focus our energies on making it the best we could and we really think that shines on the screen.
Lensed by veteran Shawn Maurer, BEST NIGHT EVER was shot on a variety of prosumer and professional cameras including the Canon AX10, Panasonic GH2, GoPro system and Sony EX3. All brought a distinct style to the project. Grounded firmly in “found footage” world, the filmmakers were able to smuggle, strategically place and hide different cameras in and around the person of each of the main cast, having them operate the camera themselves much of the time. During the sequence where the girls travel on the highline on Fremont Street in Las Vegas, each actress is carrying and “operating” a GoPro Hero 2 hacked to shoot at a specific frame rate.
Seasoned cutter Peck Prior, whose credits include Bridesmaids, several of the Friedberg & Seltzer spoof series (Epic Movie, Disaster Movie) as well as comedy classic Uncle Buck, carried out the edit. For as many one shot takes or scenes in Best Night Ever, there are infinitely more that have been crazily compiled from a myriad of different shots and angles as our leads bumble from one disaster to another. Often times, Peck had to maintain the natural feel and flow of the footage while still managing to hide additional crew lurking just around the corner. Shooting in real locations and in tight corners forced the post team to be creative, striking a balance between home video shot on a real iPhone and a project with more of a narrative base.
When watching the film, look for a specific sequence that takes place in the old downtown portion of Las Vegas. Shot towards the tail end of the 16-day shoot, these last few days in Vegas capture the truly insane atmosphere that was going on at the time, as well as many of the crewmembers that were working on the film.
The girls are challenged (self-challenged, really) to a scavenger hunt of sorts in which they parade around for the better part of ten minutes collecting strange things and acting out inane pranks. Spontaneous and crazy, the sequence involves much of the crew that was still on hand at that point in the shoot, several celebrity look-alikes and many passersby on Fremont Street. Watch this sequence closely and a microcosm of the entire shoot is revealed, leaving you to ask how many of these events were staged and how many just simply happened that way.
Best Night Ever
Directed by: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
Starring: Desiree Hall, Samantha Colburn, Eddie Ritchard, Crista Flanagan, Christian Barillas, Jason Beaubien, Jena Sims
Screenplay by: Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer
Production Design by: William A. Elliott
Cinematography by: Shawn Maurer
Film Editing by: Peck Prior
Costume Design by: Maressa Richtmyer
Set Decoration by: Nathalie Neurath
MPAA Rating: R for strong crude and sexual content throughout, language, graphic nudity and drug use.
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Release Date: January 31, 2014