The Night Before Movie Review
The Night Before is a 2015 comedy film directed by Jonathan Levine and starring Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It is such a good, stupendous comedy.
It follows three friends who decide to spend one last Christmas together. The plot is fairly simple, but is satisfying in the end due to some solid execution of it. First, let’s talk about the flaws. The first act is so mediocre that it ruined this movie for me. Neither of the characters was likable or interesting or funny at the beginning and it was even annoying to watch. That seriously hurt the movie as it could have been even better had it started off strongly.
But that all changed in the second half with the characters becoming much more likable and much more interesting and with the jokes finally starting to hit. Chris was very boring at first, but he grew on me later on and the scene in which he defends his friend is genuinely sweet. Ethan is also a straight man here delivering just a couple of jokes, but he is a typical Gordon-Levitt character for the better as I like his characters. He is realistic, likable and even charming and the relationship between Diana and him is genuinely romantic and I rooted for them to end up together and I rarely do that. That’s how charming those two were. And I love that Diana practically said no to his public proposal as that was so realistic.
Isaac is a typical Seth Rogen creation, but I liked him as he is really well realized and, despite his drug-obsessed behavior, he is quite likable and endearing. And he was really funny and is literally the only truly hilarious character here and the movie rests on his shoulders. Thankfully, Seth Rogen delivered and gave one of his finest performances to date. He has rarely been this sympathetic or this funny. He made me laugh so many times and I really enjoyed his performance and his character who is the heart of the film. Anthony Mackie is good as well and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is naturally good as he usually is. And I liked Jillian Bell as well, although she could have been funnier this time around. Lizzy Caplan was also good as was Mindy Kaling, but I have to say that I did not enjoy Michael Shannon’s role here. He is definitely very good in it and he plays a different character than usual which is great, but I did not find that character interesting at all and he’s one of the weakest links in The Night Before.
The Night Before is solidly directed, but really weirdly edited and paced. It just doesn’t move at a polished pace. The tone is good as the film is thankfully mostly a pure comedy which I loved as the humor is really good. There were many laugh out loud, really hilarious lines and scenes here with Rogen’s drug-oriented scenes being really amusing and his gay texting being hysterical. The character interactions are really good in this one and the three share such a lovable relationship. The film also has a heart and is really sweet, but never too emotional. It perfectly struck a balance between a traditional Christmas family movie and a drug-oriented, crazy mature movie with sexual jokes. That balance is really difficult to maintain, but The Night Before managed to make it seem seamless. Sometimes the movie was too loud and inconsistent in structure, but it is mostly incredibly entertaining and funny. It is such a pleasant surprise and one of the year’s finest comedies.