Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Film Review: The Night Before

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg re-team for festive drug-fuelled fun on the streets of New York in The Night Before.

The Night Before is about a trio of life-long friends, Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie), who have a Christmas Eve tradition; every year for the last decade the BFF's hit the clubs in NYC to paint the town red and spread some festive cheer.

However, this year, is set to be the last time; Chris is now a big time sports star, whilst Isaac is on the verge of becoming a father with his wife Betsy (Jillian Bell); they simply have too many responsibilities getting in the way.

Determined to give the tradition the send-off it deserves, Isaac stocks up on all sorts of drugs whilst Ethan lands three tickets to the hottest party in town; the Nutcracker Ball. But will the friends make it to the fateful event, or will they get lost along the way?

The Night Before is from the same creative team as This Is The End and Bad Neighbours, the first of which I didn't like so much and the latter of which I quite enjoyed. Rogen and Goldberg also made The Interview which is one of my favourite comedies of the year, so clearly the duo have got a good thing going. This new film, thankfully, falls into the second category; it's funny and entertaining, if not the most memorable or instantly quotable comedy you'll see this year.

The rapport the lead trio share is funny and snappy, with Mackie in particular spreading his comedic wings in something outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Rogen is...well, he's Seth Rogen. He essentially plays the same drug-crazed Jewish hipster layabout in every single film so you already know what to expect; lots of throaty shouting and expletives. Meanwhile, JGL plays the most serious character here; Ethan is the main driving force behind upholding the gangs Christmas tradition and JGL's sad and lonely performance does give the film some element of emotional character drama. Y'know, when they're not smoking weed and playing Goldeneye on the N64 that is.

Lizzy Caplan and Mindy Kaling play to gal-pals who the boys cross paths with on their night out and they're both pretty funny. Caplan isn't given a lot to work with - her character is simply defined as 'pretty and plain ex-gf of Ethan' and left at that. There are also a couple of great cameos that I won't spoil, but they certainly liven up the third act.

Other than that, this is a fairly run-of-the-mill effort from Rogen and co. It has its fair share of chuckle-worthy moments (such as Rogen tripping out during midnight mass), but it's not going to replay over and over in your head. It's fun, festive but forgettable.

The Verdict: 6/10

Are you going to remember much from The Night Before a week from now? It's doubtful, but as a cheap matinee Christmas comedy to lose yourself in, you could do a lot worse.

The Night Before is currently showing in cinemas across Australia


  1. I think I liked it a little more than you did, but overall I feel the same way. I was routinely laughing, which I always appreciate, but it didn't have quite the impact I thought it would (I thought I was going to LOVE it). Though, honestly, I do look forward to seeing it again.

    Maybe just for Michael Shannon. Or the big song at the end!

    1. I can't believe I didn't mention Michael Shannon once in the whole review! He was great in this film.

  2. Nice write up! I'm about the same with you. I liked it, though I wish it was better since I'm such a JGL fanatic.

    1. Thanks Brittani! It was decent enough to fill a quiet Saturday arvo, but not much else.



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