Rounding off my Christmas viewing in the cinema this year was ‘The Night Before’. With already having seen two pretty solid festive films this season, ‘Christmas with the Coopers’ & ‘Krampus’ I was wondering if ‘The Night Before’ could complete a holiday hat-trick. With funny man Seth Rogen involved and the very likable Joseph Gordon-Levitt there was potential to make a great film here.
Unfortunately that wasn’t the case as ‘The Night Before’ ended up being distinctly average and certainly the worst Christmas movie released this year. It has many problems but I think the worst one is just that none of our characters arcs were interesting. Each character has a different issue that they are facing and it’s a shame that they all end up being so predictable and too much time is devoted to these when all I wanted to be doing was laughing. Usually the thing that saves comedies like these is the chemistry between the main characters and whilst it isn’t bad here these three characters don’t have that spark that previous comedy favourites have achieved before. I think this is largely due to the presence of Anthony Mackie. Don’t get me wrong the guy is a good actor and I enjoy his role of Falcon in the MCU. He just seemed out of place here in this comedy and I wasn’t convinced of his performance, I just don’t think all out comedies like this are really his style. The whole time I was watching these three characters interact all I could think to myself was how much better it would have been with someone like James Franco instead of Mackie. Thankfully though, Joseph Gordon-Levitt is as likeable as ever and it’s largely due to his charm and performance that ‘The Night Before’ remains watchable.
There are laughs to be had here but rather than coming in the large gags the humour comes across best in the throwaway comments or the facial expressions that Seth Rogen pulls. Rogen is no stranger to comedy and he does his best with the material he is given, again like JGL, his performance was good enough to keep the audience entertained. It’s a shame that these performances are surrounded by an unnecessarily over complicated plot which relies on cameos and references rather than being wholly original. Some of the aforementioned references are funny but for the most part they are left widely unexplored and the potential for comedy is never met. The film attempts to put a spin on the usual formula for the Christmas movie but I thought it just ended up being silly and a lot of this is made too obvious, too soon.
‘The Night Before’ is certainly not a film for Christmas Eve as I doubt it will lift anyone’s spirits. However if you are willing to endure a pretty boring story with uninteresting characters than you will get some laughs. However, with nothing very original or memorable this is a comedy that won’t live long in memory even though Rogen and JGL are as likeable as ever.
Rating – 5/10