The Night Before
Out Now On-Demand
Three wise men. One wild Christmas.
Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are three not-so-wise men in this R-rated Christmas comedy. These lifelong best friends hit their annual Eve tradition – potentially for the last time. Co-stars Michael Shannon (Man of Steel), Lizzy Caplan (The Interview) and Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street) and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness).
Rating: R16 Sex scenes, sexual content, drug use & offensive language
A tradition started by two college students to distract their pal from the death of his parents forms the backbone of this yuletide yuck fest. As comedy filmmaking luck would have it, what transpires is essentially a drug-fueled pub crawl caper, Harold and Kumar-like as it follows its leads in search of a mythical Christmas party and, well, weed. The Night Before boasts great chemistry between stars Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie, with the first two building on their solid screen friendship in 50/50 - whose director Jonathan Levine is also in charge of proceedings here.
There’s enough intruding adulthood to provide small narrative arcs for their characters without going the full Judd Apatow “oh poor me, I’m a manchild who won’t grow up” route, and the resulting film is free to focus on the trio’s collective mishaps and side missions (taking too many drugs and freaking out about becoming a father; getting over a girl; doing what it takes to be a popular athlete). They’re aided by the most hilarious Michael Shannon performance this side of The Insane Delta Gamma Society Letter, Lizzy Caplan, Jillian Bell and Broad City’s Ilana Glazer coming off the bench in familiar, yet welcome, supporting roles, and the sort of roll call of cameos you’d expect (highlights among these including Nathan Fielder as the driver of a heavily-sponsored limo, and the dunce/dulcet tones of narrator Tracy Morgan).
Silly and seldom serious, The Night Before benefits from Levine’s ability to softly switch gears when required. That’s not often, mostly this is a satisfying romp, surely a staple of stoner Christmas Eves to come, and a pleasantly pointless diversion going into the holiday season.
Rolling Stone (USA)
Time Out New York
Entertainment Weekly (USA)
Total Film (UK)
Seth Rogen and Michael Shannon give their funniest performances to date.
Out of all of Rogen's films, I believe that this is by far his funniest film. Yes, its over the top, cheesy and extremely offensive, with enough random drug use to sedate a bear, but its the visual gags and reactions mixed with Shannon's smart humor that make this a night to remember. The plot plods along at a farcical rate, making fun of christmas tropes and stories in a way where slapstick humor and christmas songs blend eagerly into the mix. Some solid supporting performances and some snappy cinematography make this the perfect christmas guilty pleasure.
Three great actors with a capable supporting cast to boot. I just think the audience deserved better than this, especially coming from the highly respected actors and cast.
I agree, there are some funny moments especially with the facial expressions and verbal responses. Even Mr Green I found to be darkly and saintly hilarious at the same time.
Too much cussing and references to drugs and other things not worth speaking about,
People from all walks of life celebrate christmas, Perhaps this is the seedier side of christmas when people are afraid of being alone, life goes on as normal.
Pleasing moment for me having Isaac and his mom thanking God for Christmas.
Not very good
One funny scene and the rest was just silly
Good, but not funny enough
Saw this at a preview screening. It has 3-4 absolutely hilarious sequences (largely with Seth Rogen), and the rest is a bit ho-hum. Bit too drama, not enough jokes.