Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Night Before

***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion (or other commenters), that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching!  It's a little strange watching a Christmas movie in March.

The Night Before – 4 out of 5

Two things about The Night Before:  1) Reading its title instantly puts The Beatles song of the same name in my head and 2) I didn’t even have to watch a trailer for this film because when I hear it was a drug-fueled wacky comedy that had Seth Rogen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it, I said, “Shut up and immediately stop drilling because you’ve struck oil.”  So, let’s get it to!

Let the fun begin!

Years ago, Ethan (JGL) lost his parents in an accident. His two friends; Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie), decided to spend the Christmas holiday with him so he wouldn’t feel alone and this ended up becoming a yearly tradition where they would go out and party their faces off. Then, one year, they heard about an underground party that was the party to end all parties but, year-in and year-out, they were never able to get an invite.  Now, as the years passed, Chris is a big-time professional athlete and Isaac is starting a family and getting time to party with their emotionally immature and career-lacking friend Ethan is getting to be more difficult and they decide that this year is their last year…however, Ethan gets his hands on tickets to the ultimate party they heard about years ago and decided that their last year would be the best year.

It's hard to look cool in Christmas sweaters but these three do it.

I would be lying if I said I didn't piss myself during
this was a horrible mess and I'm
deeply embarrassed.
I adore Rogen, Gordon-Levitt and Mackie so having them all together for a goofy, raunchy comedy seems like a great idea and, honestly, it was.  The film is absolutely hysterical and all three main leads (as well as the supporting cast) all bring to life this silly romp effectively well.  Special mention has to be made to Michael Shannon who plays a drug dealer that keeps showing up in the story and he pretty much steals the film with his short scenes.  Additionally, the film has some excellent cameos that bring in some fantastically hysterical results from the likes of James Franco and Miley Cyrus.  In fact, nothing about the comedy and the laughs it brings is what kept this film from being better than it could be.

There's nothing Michael Shannon can't do.

He has taken on Hydra, there's no threat Anthony
Mackie can't handle.
For the purposes of a goofy situational comedy, the story works and does a great job of creating situations for raunchy and hilarious moments.  The weakness comes in the conflicts that each man has in their lives.  There are times where these conflicts are handled extremely well like in the case of Seth Rogen’s character.  He is having a hard time with the reality of becoming a father and this comes to a head during his drug-fueled bender.  His insecurities and faults are excellent developed and worked out (complete with comedy) throughout the story.  This level of detail and satisfying development isn’t handled as well with the characters of Ethan and Chris.  Chris uses steroids and Ethan is dealing with the breakup of a woman he loves and the fact he has no promises in his music career.  The problems that occurs is Chris’ steroid use isn’t covered or resolved very well and Ethan pining for an ex feels very cliché and the resolution to it feels just as cliché and formulaic.  Neither conflict feels as satisfyingly introduced or closed as Isaac’s insecurity of becoming a dad and it sorta makes the B-stories of these characters feel like an afterthought and even makes the character of Ethan—who is essentially the main focal point since their Christmas tradition was born out of his lose—feel like a background character.

Don't be sad, JGL.  At the end of the day, you're still a god in the movie world and
cooler and better looking than a wannabe movie critic like myself will ever be.

Despite my problems with the story, I still had a lot of fun watching The Night Before.  Sure, Seth Rogen and Michael Shannon stole the film for me and made it feel like the man who should have been the focal point of everything (JGL) feel like a supporting player but the laughs the film brings in are numerous and unrelenting and that made the feature very enjoyable and entertaining.  It’s not perfect but damn it is funny!

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