The Night Before Movie Review
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Seth Rogen has proven time and time again that no topic is sacred. Anything and everything can be poked fun at if you approach it the right way. His latest target of interest is Christmas which SHOULD keep the North Koreans at bay from cyber attacks aimed at Sony’s computer network. If you have no idea what I’m referring to, last year the North Koreans allegedly hacked their way into Sony’s internal network and made off with terabytes upon terabytes of intellectual property including a digital version of The Interview which starred Seth Rogen and James Franco as a couple of Americans sent to North Korea to assassinate President Kim Jong Un. The story goes, due to the early leak of the finished product combined with its high quality forced Sony into scrapping a wide theatrical release and instead send it straight to on demand. Anyway there has been no such drama with The Night Before so all we have to focus on is if it’s worth seeing or not.
Friends for many years, Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have a Christmas tradition has been repeated year after year for the last 14 years. The three get together and enjoy a wild no-holds-barred night as a way to strengthen their bond as well ignore their sorrows for a night. The tradition started when Ethan was going through a tough time in his life, dealing with the sudden loss of his parents. Not wanting him to be alone, Isaac and Chris urged him to come out and partake the various Christmas celebrations. Now due to changes in their own lives, two of the three have decided that the time has come to shelve the folly of fun. Unbeknownst to the trio, this night would be even more special than years past.
During this time of year stress levels run high as people are starting their little holiday freakout rituals with so much to do in so little time. Well thank goodness for movie distractions. And especially thank goodness for a movie like The Night Before that will certainly help many of us identify with some of the more comical aspects. Director Jonathan Levine does a good job of giving people something to smile about while deftly sneaking in some tender, meaningful moments. Don’t get me wrong here, The Night Before is a straight up comedy but it really does offer some emotional moments that many of us can relate to. Levine has previously worked with Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt on 50/50 (2011) which was also a comedy but it was definitely more of a drama. Be prepared to have a moment or two where you feel more emotional than you thought you might in a comedy.
The Night Before is laugh out loud funny mainly due to the talents of Seth Rogen. Having said that, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie are no slouches either. Michael Shannon as the drug dealing Mr. Green is great in his evolving role. Another actor who deserves a special shout out is Ilana Glazer who plays Rebecca Grinch with a real emphasis on the “Grinch” part. Glazer owns the screen during her brief moments but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. There are other characters worth mentioning but I’ll save that for those who see the movie. The casting was on point and the performances were as well.
I would say that The Night Before is great family movie if it wasn’t for all of the drugs, strong language and nudity. Regardless of the lewd content, the strong underlying message of friendship and family are a constant in this comedy. If the point of this movie is to make audience members laugh as well as appreciate friend and family bonds then it has served its purpose. While not your typical feel good Christmas story, The Night Before is still a pleasant gift to be unwrapped early. Check it out in theaters now.