Movie Review: “The Night Before” – Ridiculous

Written by Caitlin Cooper December 08, 2015

the night before

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and Christmas movies have already been playing on TV for weeks. The cheesy, the funny, the serious. I enjoy most of them (yes, even those bad Hallmark ones). So imagine my excitement when I saw the trailer for “The Night Before”, one of this year’s theatrical Christmas movie releases. The movie seemed promising, and indeed it has its moments. But don’t expect to be wowed by this stoner Christmas comedy.

It was the night before Christmas and three friends went out, they made a big mess and forgot what friendship is about. “The Night Before” tells the story of three friends spending their last Christmas eve together getting drunk and being idiots, a tradition which started in the early 2000s after Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) lost both of his parents just before Christmas. But now Isaac (Seth Rogen) is soon to be a father, and Chris (Anthony Mackie) is too busy being a mildly famous pro athlete. Their lives are leading them in different directions, but on this last night of their holiday tradition, they’ll be forced to learn the true meaning of friendship and address things they’ve been running from. It doesn’t hurt that Ethan managed to get tickets to the most exclusive holiday party of the year so their tradition can go out with a bang.

“And magic is in the air at Christmas.”

The trailer promises that “The Night Before” will be a holiday film full of laughs, and it is…to a point. Though the funniest scenes of the film are almost all in the trailer, so if you expect that level of comedy throughout you’ll be disappointed. “The Night Before” is, first and foremost, ridiculous. That’s what it promised to be and that’s what it is. It provides an hour or so of cheap entertainment with allusions to classic Christmas movies everyone knows and (probably) loves. Some jokes fall flat, others hit the mark. Amongst the drug-fueled freak-outs and the shameless partying, “The Night Before” attempts some form of a meaningful warm and fuzzy plot about grief, growing up, and friendship. The addition of a serious plot is half-hearted at best, and comes across as a weak afterthought at worst. But it does have moments of surprising honesty to balance the over-the-top drama of three friends getting wasted and partying on Christmas Eve.

the night before

I don’t think this movie will win any acting awards, but the cast does well with this odd script. Gordon-Levitt brings some honesty to his character that helps ground the film when it gets a bit too much. Rogen’s character Isaac is more memorable and indeed much of the script centers around his character being high. He proves he can steal the spotlight from the main character. Mackie as Chris Roberts is funny but also his character is gross. It was nice to see him in something other than “Captain America”; the script may have been lacking, but his acting was not.

“Everything changes, and we all grow up eventually.”

If you’re looking for a good ‘ole Christmas comedy to watch this holiday season, “The Night Before” provides laughs and attempts a serious plot. However, this film won’t be a classic and probably won’t become anyone’s go to holiday film. But it does succeed in entertaining audiences and getting us in the holiday spirit. Well, if the holiday spirit means chaos and Christmas traditions involving drinking.

My Rating: 5/10

the night before

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About Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin Cooper

Caitlin is an avid watcher of movies and television shows so she decided to use her passion to write about them. She has a B.A. in English Language and Literature with a Minor in Creative Writing.

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  1. As it careens from Christmas present to future to past under the deadpan guidance of Shannon s Mr. Green, the movie gets distracted enough by its assorted comic baubles that it fails to become a

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