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Review: The Night Before

The Night Before
11.17.2015
100%
8 10

PLOT: Three best buddies (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen Anthony Mackie) spend a wild Christmas Eve on the town – with it planned as their last hurrah before moving-on to lead (presumably) more responsible lives. But, the last minute gift of a box of hard drugs from one of their wives and some tickets to a bawdy party means the trio is in for one wild night of debauchery.

REVIEW: Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt fare-well under Jonathan Levine's direction. The three previously scored a hit with 50/50 and now they're back with a lighter lark, with THE NIGHT BEFORE their attempt to make a classic, off-the-wall x-mas comedy in the vein of something like SCROOGED.

While only time will tell if the guys have made a movie that'll still be watched several Christmases from now, they've certainly put together one funny-as-hell Christmas comedy that's way better than most other yuletide comedies we've seen hit the multiplex in the last few years. For Rogen, it's a nice step back into more innocuous fare after the controversy surrounding THE INTERVIEW. Certainly there's nothing here to upset anyone besides the most prudish audiences, as for all the drug-use and bad language, THE NIGHT BEFORE is a surprisingly heartfelt Christmas comedy with some decent values at its core, even if it hits all the predictable holiday movie beats.

Levitt and Rogen made for a solid pair in 50/50, and Anthony Mackie is a pretty good addition to the bunch, with his cool-guy, macho football-hero being an unlikely but fun part of their nerdy (in a hip way) crew. While Mackie probably has the least to do of the three, he does get some kind of arc, with him being set-up as somewhat steroid-addled, and his ongoing pursuit of Broad City's Ilana Glazer (who fancies herself a hipster Grinch that goes around stealing weed and imitating classic X-Mas movie villains) is hilarious.

Still, most of the big laughs go to Seth Rogen, with him dipping in to his wife's (the funny and likable Jillian Bell) drug-stash pretty liberally. Rogen gets to pretty much act out a laundry list of bad drug reactions here, from the paranoia of weed to the tripiness of mushrooms to the insanity of cocaine and so-on. While some might object to hard drugs being used as a punchline, it can't be denied Rogen always nails this kind of drug-fueled comedy (weed-smokers will dig the hell outta this).

For his part, Levitt is the defacto straight-man, with the gist being that he lost his folks to a drunk driver on x-mas, leading to his yearly blow-out with his buds. As usual for a Christmas movie, the "heartfelt" part has to do with Levitt's struggle to man-up and patch things up with his girlfriend (Lizzy Caplan – gorgeous as always). As usual for a Rogen comedy, there are loads of cameos here – with most of his regular pals showing up. However, the funniest performance in the film comes from none other than Michael Shannon, who has a full-on supporting part as insightful weed-dealer Mr. Green. Shannon steals every scene with what he calls his "quiet intensity" and shows a real flair for comedy (he still doesn't smile though).

While not a total game-changer as far as comedies go, THE NIGHT BEFORE is still one of the year's funnier films, and a very fun ninety minutes spent at the movie theater. It's a ton of fun and will be an excellent stocking-stuffer for fans of Rogen's over the holidays. I could see this one becoming something of a perennial favorite among his fans in years to come.

Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
12:21AM on 11/18/2015
Between this and A Very Murray Christmas on Netflix, I can't wait for the holidays.
Between this and A Very Murray Christmas on Netflix, I can't wait for the holidays.
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3:59PM on 11/17/2015
I have a feeling I'm going to laugh my ass off with this one.
I have a feeling I'm going to laugh my ass off with this one.
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1:13PM on 11/17/2015
Looks hilarious.
Looks hilarious.
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12:03PM on 11/17/2015
It's been a while since we had a real, honest to god, Christmas comedy that was worth a damn. I respect Seth Rogen for trying to give us comedies that aren't just disposable time-wasters.
It's been a while since we had a real, honest to god, Christmas comedy that was worth a damn. I respect Seth Rogen for trying to give us comedies that aren't just disposable time-wasters.
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10:51AM on 11/17/2015
Didn't realize Michael Shannon is in this, he plays straight so well he does awesome comedy bits.
Didn't realize Michael Shannon is in this, he plays straight so well he does awesome comedy bits.
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10:33AM on 11/17/2015
Looking forward to this with much anticipation. It looks hilarious and the trailers have done a great job of not spoiling all of the best jokes. And Rogen, Levitt, and Mackie all look like they have great chemistry and comedic timing with one and amongst one another, so I'm sure the banter between all three will be a treat as well.
Looking forward to this with much anticipation. It looks hilarious and the trailers have done a great job of not spoiling all of the best jokes. And Rogen, Levitt, and Mackie all look like they have great chemistry and comedic timing with one and amongst one another, so I'm sure the banter between all three will be a treat as well.
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