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Title: The Night Before

Movie: :3.5stars:
Video: :4.5stars:
Audio: :4.5stars:
Extras: :2stars:

HTS Overall Score:83

Christmas movies are a staple of every holiday season, and are enjoyed by people the world over (even if they don’t celebrate Christmas) However when you mix holiday cheer and Seth Rogen, then you’re in for a completely different ride. I don’t care if it’s a Christmas movie or not, you know EXACTLY what you’re getting when you have a comedy with his face across the front. There’s going to be booze, drugs and LOTS of yelling. It’s kind of like going to see a Vince Vaughn movie. There’s nothing to be shocked about or surprised by if you’ve ever seen one of his comedies. “The Night Before” blends in a raunchy comedy in with the holiday spirit in a rather generic fashion. I neither really loved nor really hated the film as a whole, but there were several key characters that made this funnier than it would have been without their inclusion (and these were not title characters).

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, everyone was getting ready to party, even the mouse. Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) Chris (Anthony Mackie) have been friends since childhood and partied with each other for Christmas every year. This year is a bit different, as the boys are coming up on 30 and life is catching up with them. Isaac and his wife, Betsy (Jillian Bell) are having their first child, Chris has been a pro football player for a while but is suddenly getting famous with all the responsibilities that brings, and this is the last Christmas they have together where they can really let loose and have a good time, because next year won’t be nearly as carefree. Ethan is the lone man out, as he doesn’t HAVE any responsibilities. He works at a dead end job, has no girlfriend and basically just exists. This Christmas is even more wearing on him as he doesn’t see the future that the other two are enjoying.

What seems like a regular night of has-beens partying turns into something soooooooooo much more. Ethan comes across tickets to The Nutcracka ball, a party that is so legendary, so incredible, but OH so super-secret that you need a special invite to even find out where the party is located at. It’s been the holy grail of their little group for years and Ethan just stumbles across it. It’s fate, right? Now all the boys have to do is waste a little time and have a little fun until 10:00 that evening when they can find out where the super-secret party is located at. That is, if they can actually survive the night with their sanity and friendship intact.

“The Night Before” plays a bit like your average Seth Rogen comedy blended with a sort of twisted holiday cheer. Each of the three guys seems like they have their life together, but really it’s nothing of the sort. Isaac is having a kid, but the guy is just a manchild at heart (Seth Rogen, duh). He looks like he’s got it made with his career and his new baby on the way, but inside he’s TERRIFIED, which is only amplified with goodie bag of drugs his wife gives the guy for their night out. Chris seems to be on top of the world with his football career, but in reality he’s just a decent player who’s only become famous due to injecting steroids into his system. His whole life is a lie that he hides from his friends and family, while trying his best to impress his team mates, including a weed run that ends up being one of the best parts of the movie. Ethan seems to be the least put together of the three on the surface, but when you get right down to it, all three are a wreck. It’s just that Ethan has been stuck for years in the same place after he got cold feet and ruined his relationship with Diana (Lizzy Caplan).

I was a bit worried about the film as a Seth Rogen comedy can be really funny, or it can go south in a hurry. Anthony Mackie is a FANTASTIC actor, but he’s been plastered on so many movies that last couple of years that I’ve felt a little burnout with him. However, the inclusion of Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the real pull here. Who would have thought that the little kid from “Third Rock from the Sun” would turn out to be a multi academy award winning actor? In all honesty, all three are decent enough in the movie, and the fairly cookie cutter “party” flick plays out pretty much like clockwork. Nothing really stands out in the script but there are enough funny moments to keep you laughing. The best person in the whole film though is Michael Shannon playing Mr. Green. Who ends up being the weed dealer for the group (even giving them the weed of Christmas present, past and future…..yes, they went there) in a totally hysterical trio of weed deals.


Rated R for drug use and language throughout, some strong sexual content and graphic nudity

Video :4.5stars:
“The Night Before”, like many modern films, looks simply fantastic on Blu-ray. Shot with 100% digital cameras, it has a nice glossy shine to it that screams “look at me!”. Fine detail is apparent in every shot, whether that be in a smoky dive bar with grey wispy smoke floating in the air or out on the street during the night as the boys party it up. Colors are bright and vibrant, showing off deep maroon reds (such as in the Nutcracka ball party invites) to soft blues and whites of Isaac’s gaudy sweater. Black levels are consistently dep and inky without any signs of major black crush. Shadow detail is impressive, even in the night clubs and bars, and compression artifacts never raised their ugly heads once.

Audio :4.5stars:
The 5.1 English DTS-HD MA track is just about as impressive as the video is. Even though this is a comedy there is a LOT going on with the track. In the middle of the big city you can hear everything going on around you. The rush of tires across the pavement, the sounds of honk honk and beep beep as people wind their way in and out of track, and the explosive sounds of a holiday party. The lfe is tight and clean, but really explodes in a couple of scenes, the major one being the actual Nutcracka ball where the intense bass is enough to bring down the house. Dialog is crisp and clean, with no issues of distortion of imbalanced with the sound effects. I had a hard time hearing voices in the night club scene, but that’s kind of to be expected being that they were shouting to be heard anyways.

Extras :3stars:

• 4 Deleted/Extended Scenes
• Mr. Green Line-O-Rama
• Christmas in Summer
• Gag Reel
• Making One Epic Party: 20 Minutes of On-Set Shenanigans
• Four Featurettes
- The Spirit of Christmas
- Drunkest Santas on the Block
- Whale Juice: Extended Strip Club Scene
- Midnight Mass with Nana

Overall: :4stars:

“The Night Before” is an inane little comedy that likes to push the boundaries of holiday propriety, but it is a fairly harmless comedy that doesn’t do anything more than your average dirty comedy. There were some laughs, there were some face palming and groaning, and there was even a few moments of seriousness. I wouldn’t say that it hit the mark on every joke and every lesson learned, but I had a good enough time with the puff pastry movie. The audio and video are great, and the disc even has a fairly good assortment of featurettes and deleted scenes to make the special edition fans happy. Solid Rental.

Additional Information:

Starring: Anthony Mackie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Written by: Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, French DTS-HD MA 5.1, Thai, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Sony
Rated: R
Runtime: 101 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: March 1st 2016

Buy The Night Before On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Solid Rental

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