The Night Before (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Comedy
Director: Jonathan Levine
Distributor: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Duration: 97 minutes

The Night Before (DVD) – Movie Review

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Good: Atmosphere, Cast
Bad: Predictable
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(3 votes)
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Rating: 7.0/10 (3 votes cast)

Even though Christmas might not be right around the corner at this time of the year, most of us either love or hate the holiday season. One hangs around with friends and family, while others are painfully reminded of those they have lost and can’t celebrate the festivities with. The Night Before revolves all around one of those sacred traditions between the best of friends, but even those will eventually come to an end sometime. Nonetheless, the boys are back in town and are ready to go out with a bang.

The Night Before

Just when Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) took his first steps into adulthood, he lost his parents in an accident that involved a drunken driver. All alone, Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) decide to take their friend under their wings and they start up a new tradition for their own makeshift version of a family. Every Christmas they get together and blow off the roof wherever they head, simply to celebrate their bond and prevent Ethan from being gloomy during this festive period. When they hear of a special party, where everyone gets laid and there’s rivers of booze and drugs to be found, they make it their mission to find this secret ‘Nutcracker’s ball’, but to no avail. This tradition goes on for nearly fourteen years before Isaac and Chris decide to call it quits, as Isaac is about to become a father and Chris is now a respected athlete with his face plastered all over the city. Nonetheless, for Ethan’s sake, they decide to go nuts, one last time, even though Chris is thinking of having a heart-to-heart talk with Ethan, telling him he really needs to move on.

Ethan, who is now 33 years old and still works as a waiter, in elf costume, seems to show no signs of properly growing up, but he respects his friend’s choices of discarding the tradition. Out of the blue Ethan comes across (actually steals them) three tickets for the legendary Nutcracker’s ball, and surprises his friends with this, right before they start their rather weird adventure. Even though everyone has enough reasons to have fun, it seems everyone is a bit held back as Ethan still thinks about his ex, Diana (Lizzy Caplan), more than once during the evening, Isaac is scared shitless to become a father and Chris wants to be acknowledged by his fellow teammates, and when he gets a phone call from Tommy Owens (Aaron Hill) to score some weed, he immediately drops everything to do as he says. Add in the fact that Chris’ wife Betsy (Jillian Bell) gave him a small box that contained pretty much all drugs known to man, hoping Isaac would go nuts one last time, things take a turn toward the absurd.

Overall the flow of the movie is not rapid but not too timid either, as the story just seems to trot along at the same pace from start to finish. Of course, a movie such as this follows the rather cliché pattern, which starts off with a bit of a sobby backstory, the solution to the problem of Ethan who needed a new surrogate family, the goodbyes, the internal conflict and of course the resolution by the end. That being said, it’s not because this movie might be deemed a dime a dozen, it makes sure you’re never bored throughout the entire experience, as there’s more than enough going on at all times. Last but not least, while things may follow a well-known pattern, The Night Before upholds its great and somewhat witty atmosphere from start to finish.

Admittedly many of these comedies always try to land one main actor that is quite known from similar movies or simply a familiar face for many. The cast for The Night Before mixes cast members from two worlds, namely actors that have appeared in big Hollywood flicks, not always in the comedy genre, and regulars from shows that air on Comedy Central. While the latter often feel like they’re in a different league with the big shot actors from Hollywood, it all blends together seamlessly. That being said, it’s mainly Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony Mackie who steal the show during this entire movie. Nonetheless, witty cameos by other celebrities add some extra flavor to the scenes, especially when you weren’t expecting to see another familiar face.

It’s fun to see that the DVD release of The Night Before packs some additional content. These extra features elaborate further on some of the movies’ funny scenes, but overall these feel rather useless, as the movie never truly needed any extras as everything was clear as day. Nonetheless, some of these small features are funny to look at, especially the gag reel is a rather amusing touch.


Even though The Night Before will not reel in any Oscars or reach the top of the charts, it’s still a rather enjoyable movie with the necessary dose of lighthearted humor. While not all of the jokes land their targets, the overall atmosphere of the movie makes sure it’s quite enjoyable to watch on a slow night, or even when you simply want to shut off your brain and relax. If you’re into feelgood comedies, this one will be a rather pleasing experience.

Pictures © 2015 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. and LSC Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.0/10 (3 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
The Night Before (DVD) - Movie Review, 7.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings

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