HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Unseen, The
Tonight She Comes
Chasing the Dragon
Into the Forest
Limehouse Golem, The
Frankenstein '80
Good Time
Bucket of Blood, A
Detroit
Hide and Seek
What Happened to Monday
River Wild, The
Veteran
Slumber Party '57
Juliette, or Key of Dreams
Summertime Killer
Sweet Virginia
Ben & Arthur
Your Name
Red Hot Shot, The
New World
Trick Baby
Weapons of Death
Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World, The
Kills on Wheels
Strait-Jacket
This Man is Dangerous
Burning Paradise
Away
Mistress of the Apes
   
 
Newest Articles
Apocalypse 80s UK: Threads and When the Wind Blows
Movie Flop to Triumphant TV Revival: Twin Peaks and The League of Gentlemen
Driving Force: The Golden Age of American Car Chases
Madness in his Method: Jim Carrey and Andy Kaufman
Music, Love and Flowers: Monterey Pop on Blu-ray
The Melville Mood: His Final Two Films on The Melville Collection Blu-ray
Always Agnès: 3 from The Varda Collection Blu-ray
Re: Possession of Vehicles - Killer Cars, Trucks and a Vampire Motorcycle
The Whicker Kicker: Whicker's World Vols 5&6 on DVD
The Empress, the Mermaid and the Princess Bride: Three 80s Fantasy Movies
   
 
  Night Before, The Off Their Festive FacesBuy this film here.
Year: 2015
Director: Jonathan Levine
Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Lizzy Caplan, Jillian Bell, Mindy Kaling, Michael Shannon, Lorraine Toussaint, Heléne Yorke, Ilana Glazer, Aaron Hill, Tracy Morgan, Nathan Fielder, James Franco, Miley Cyrus, Natalie Knepp
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: This is the tale of three friends who met up every Christmas Eve to party and forget their cares for the festive season. It was a tradition with them that had started when one of their number, Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), had a terrible time one December as his parents were killed on the road by a drunk driver, so the other two, Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) did their darnedest to cheer him up every time that end of year celebration would come around. But now they had reached their thirties and life was beginning to look as if responsibilities were pressing down on them; Isaac's wife Betsy (Jillian Bell) was about to have a baby, Chris's sporting career was at its apex, and Ethan... was looking forward to a legendary party.

It did not take long for Hollywood to cotton on to the fact that Christmas movies can be very big business, for even the worst of them have a habit of coming back up, like food poisoning from an undercooked turkey, in the television schedules or on the streaming service of your choice, pretty much demanding that you watch at least a percentage of them at some point in your life. Testament to that were the masses of seasonal television movies, the lowest form of the Christmas movie, that littered the small screen, nobody's favourite but nevertheless hanging around like a barely tolerated house guest, though with the proper films you would be guaranteed a famous face or three that you would recognise.

The cynicism these efforts were steeped in undercut whatever festive cheer might be a by-product of the experience of seeing them, just put your star in a harassed family situation at the most wonderful time of the year and supposedly that was enough to appeal to your target audience: the people in charge of sticking them on TV channels and internet platforms from now to Kingdom Come. Sit back and watch those royalties pour in from even the least loved of Christmas productions, studio bosses, who cares that they soured the genre for generations to come, aside from those who were determined to enjoy a movie because it was set at that time? Which was why The Night Before looked so resistible.

Take a bunch of hip Hollywood actors and comedy merchants and watch them put their own spin on the celebrations, in an improvised work no less, and it sounded like a recipe for expecting the worst. Indeed, there were plenty who could not perceive anything amusing about this whatsoever, bringing out a nasty whiff of anti-Semitism when the jokes were coming from many Jewish performers and writers who were regarded as criticising or at least insulting the Christian festival. Or pagan festival, if you wanted to go that far back, though few were worried about insulting them. But if you could get over that, and let’s hope you could, this was actually very funny indeed in places, as it took an outsider's point of view to skewer the most ridiculous elements of the occasion, and Rogen especially was frequently hilarious in his character's attempts to have one final fling with his mates before settling into parenthood.

Fair enough, a bunch of manchildren who really should know better at their age was far from an original concept, notably from the talents making this, but given the final scenes saw the trio acknowledging that it was their stage to stop messing about and start investing in their existences properly, we could appreciate that we were up to that point worth laughing at as well as with. When Isaac is gifted a box of drugs by Betsy, it was the cue for him to behave in a tripped out fashion, again nothing groundbreaking, but you could defy anyone who thought they had a good sense of humour not to laugh at the scene where he’s getting explicit texts. The other two stars had their moments, as Gordon-Levitt got to play the man pining after the one that got away (Lizzy Caplan) who maybe feels the same way and Mackie had fun with chasing after Ilana Glazer, the "Grinch" who insists on stealing his weed, but while there was a happy ending, there was a neat subversion of the clichés: the marriage proposal in front of the crowd doesn't go to plan, there was no baby Jesus coincidence giving birth sequence, and so on. Relentlessly daft but goodnatured with it, The Night Before was an unexpectedly Christmassy bit of fun. Music by Marco Beltrami and Miles Hankins.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 468 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Who's the best?
Robin Askwith
Mark Wahlberg
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Jennifer Thomas
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Andrew Pragasam
Paul Shrimpton
  Rachel Franke
Jason Cook
Darren Jones
   

 

Last Updated: