Main Plot Points:
- Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have been friends since childhood, and for a decade, their yearly Christmas Eve reunion has been an annual night of debauchery and hilarity.
- Now that they’re entering adulthood, the tradition is coming to an end, and to make it as memorable as possible, they set out to find the Nutcracka Ball – the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.
What We Thought:
- The Night Before has some big laughs, but isn’t consistent enough for me. I wanted more jokes in between the big ones.
- If you think I’m the typical “critic” who isn’t supposed to like this movie in the first place, you’re wrong. I’m a big Seth Rogen fan. I really liked This is the End. I loved 50/50 (Rogen’s other film with Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and enjoyed The Pineapple Express, Knocked Up and most of his Seth’s resume.
- There are some pretty classic holiday comedies you immediately compare a movie like this to, fair or not. It’s not kid friendly like Elf nor should it be. It’s more raunchy than National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and you expect that. I went in wondering if it was going to be better or worse than Harold & Kumar’s 3D Christmas. I think that’s a fair comparison. Both are raunchy and have a lot of drug use.
- So is it better? I think so. To be honest, I’ve only seen Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas once when it came out so I’m not really sure how funny it actually still is. This seems to have bigger laughs, but again, it’s just not consistently funny.
- I think my biggest issue is the supporting cast and side stories. I didn’t see the point of Ilana Glazer’s character. Sure she tries to steal everything (no spoiler, you see her stealing money in the trailers), but she becomes a side story focus and it wasn’t necessary to me. There’s other women, surprise cameos and sub stories galore. I just don’t think they all worked for me. And that’s part of the incontinency. One minute you’re getting a huge laugh from Rogen being high, the next it’s dull with side characters and side stories.
- That’s a shame too because I thought Rogen, JGL and Anthony Mackie were good together. I know Rogen and JGL had believable chemistry from other projects, but the addition of Mackie worked quite well. I’d watch another movie with all three of them together.
- Although hands down, the best part of the movie is Michael Shannon. Shannon is one of my favorite actors and he’s absolutely brilliant in this. If you’ve only seen him be serious, you’ll be shocked at his performance his. Just fantastic.
- So is The Night Before a holiday classic I’ll watch every year? Unfortunately no. I liked it, I did, but it’s not a classic. I’ll watch it again, probably next year to see if it’s still funny. It’s plenty enjoyable and I found myself laughing at big moments, but I wanted to laugh throughout the film and it just didn’t get there.
Notable Cast & Crew:
- Seth Rogen
- Joseph Gordon-Levitt
- Michael Shannon
- Anthony Mackie
Recommended if You Like:
- This is the End
- Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
- Seth Rogen comedy