Film Review: The Night Before

Frances Winston says if you’re not looking for anything too deep, this film will probably have you smiling coming out of the cinema

Directed by: Jonathan Levine – Starring: Seth Rogan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie, Michael Shannon, Gillian Bell, Lizzy Caplan

The latest offering in the festive stable of movies comes from the people who brought you the satirical apocalypse drama, This is the End, so you already know that this will be a bit left-of-centre.

Rogan, Gordon-Levitt and Mackie play three friends, who have a tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve in the same haunts every year. As they have grown older, it has become clear that the tradition will have to end, so they set off for one last night.

However, with tickets to the exclusive Nutcracker Ball in their pockets, a box full of drugs, and with all having various major life issues, this will be no ordinary night.

This makes no bones about what it is. It’s not trying to be a Christmas classic – rather it wants to give its audience hard and fast belly laughs, and it succeeds. Much like many of Rogan’s previous offerings, there is a lot of puerile and frat-boy humour here – these movies are not for the easily offended.

However, if you take the jokes in the spirit they are intended, this is extremely funny. Their “guide” on their raucous night comes in the form of their drug dealer, Mr Green (Shannon) and leads to several fantasy sequences which don’t always work, but other than that this sticks to its remit all the way through.

Although it is exaggerated for comic effect, most people will relate to the personal crises that the characters are undergoing. On a less cerebral level, we’ve all also had those festive traditions that have to come to an end. However, this film isn’t trying to be deep – it just wants the audience to have fun.

All members of the cast do a great job, with Mackie in particular a revelation, since he is not known for his comedic roles. For good measure there are also plenty of cameos from the casts’ celebrity friends, including James Franco and a hilarious turn by Miley Cyrus. Trust me when I say you will never listen to Wrecking Ball in the same way again.

With a running time of an hour and forty minutes, this film never knows when to leave the building. It isn’t going to go down as a festive must-see, and you probably won’t remember much of it a couple of hours after leaving the cinema.

But the belly laughs and Ho-Ho-Hos will stay with you, and you will leave the cinema smiling, which is as good a reason as any to check this out.

In Cinemas Now!

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The new LGBT magazine; available online, for download and on podcast. It's time for another view.
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