The Night Before review

Jonathan Levine
Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Seth Rogen
Anthony Mackie
Jillian Bell
Michael Shannon
Rated: R

Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a man named Ethan in “The Night Before,” an average guy who has a tradition of going out the night before Christmas with his two friends Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie). The tradition was started just after Ethan’s parents died in 2001 and has carried on throughout the years.

The film picks up with the three friends deciding that the current Christmas Eve would be their last night out, though, as life is pulling them in different directions. Because of this, they decide to make it the best night possible by making it to a legendary party.

Just by looking at the trailer for the film, it’s obvious that “The Night Before” features some raunchiness as well as plenty of humor surrounding drugs. Fortunately, the movie is helped by a solid cast, crew and script which push it above an average rated R comedy.

The film is directed by Jonathan Levine, who previously helmed the films “Warm Bodies” and “50/50” and it’s become obvious at this point that the guy can put out solid comedies that also convincingly have a lot of heart.

While much of the story as well as the individual subplots that the three main characters are going through is predictable, the relationship between the friends is believable and it actually makes the whole arc enjoyable to watch play out.

Much of the film’s humor is outrageous and there are quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. From cameo appearances to solid comedic dialogue, the movie simply has a lot going for it and it makes for one of the better comedies of the past year.

The film’s strongest aspect is its acting talent. Gordon-Levitt and Mackie are both talented actors and they deliver the dialogue really well. Additionally, they play really well off of Rogen who is the more well known in terms of comedic roles of the three.

Probably the most surprising role in “The Night Before” was Michael Shannon as the mysterious weed dealer and wise sage to the protagonists who only goes by Mr. Green. Shannon has been a serious actor and is often in roles that require him to bring a lot of gravity to the situation. Shannon portrays Mr. Green completely serious and for much of the movies delivers a dead pan in his delivery, and it works perfectly.

Thanks to its performances, a good comedic script and heartfelt direction from Levine, “The Night Before” turned out to be a memorable comedy. Some jokes were a little too forced at times, but that’s a minor flaw. 4 out of 5.

Author: Matthew Liedke

Journalist and film critic in Minnesota. Graduate of Rainy River College and Minnesota State University in Moorhead. Outside of movies I also enjoy sports, craft beers and the occasional video game.

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