- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 02 December 2015
- Written by LAUREN ROSSI | CONTRIBUTING WRITER
While the latest film produced by Seth Rogen may not be a new Christmas favorite to watch every year, it certainly provided viewers with gut-wrenching laughter and a nice transition into Christmas time. The Night Before revolves around the tradition of three best friends: Isaac (Rogen), Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), and Chris (Anthony Mackie). These longtime friends have always spent Christmas Eve together since the death of Ethan’s parents, but now that they all are growing up and forming their own traditions, this year will be their last spent together.
The friends parade through the city with their ridiculously ugly Christmas sweaters as they try to follow their previous escapades. They venture to bars, Chinese food eateries, and even mimic the giant piano scene in F.A.O Schwartz from Big, opting for a rendition of Kanye West’s “Runaway.” The song undoubtedly adds extra laughs to the scene, especially as the surrounding parents tried to cover their children’s ears. This goofy humor continues as the trio moves onto karaoke and sing surprisingly rather well—though the same can’t be said about their dance moves.
Regardless of the fact that it is their last year of completing this tradition, the friends seem to repeatedly get caught up in their own concerns and lives. This develops into the core dilemma of the movie: they are grown up now. Chris is becoming a famous football player, Isaac is married and about to have a child, and Ethan still has some growing up to do as he grapples with abandonment issues. However, the film manages to not make it get all gushy and stereotypically emotional like most other Christmas movies. It solves the issues between them using more humorous methods rather than the typical feel-good ones.
Although all the characters each had their own memorable scenes, Rogen stole the show as Isaac with his hysterical humor that has been showcased in previous films like Superbad and The Interview. Isaac’s drug-induced adventures and convoluted way of thinking gave the film the majority of its comedic highlights and laughter that shook the theater as viewers couldn’t help but burst out chuckling. Notably it was Isaac’s uncontrollable facial expressions that constantly popped up throughout the film that kept the laughs rolling. Rogen proves to have a unique power of contorting his face into obscure structures, and it certainly works here.
There was a number of minor characters that also impacted the movie and had their own humorous roles. Mindy Kaling from The Office and Lizzy Caplan from Mean Girls offer more ridiculous scenes as they get involved with the adventures of the three friends throughout the night. Aside from these actresses adding to the film, there were some surprise celebrities that were incorporated into the story and induced their own fair amount of laughter in viewers.
Placing the film in New York City gave The Night Before a captivating backdrop. The skyscrapers that pervaded the night above as their dark exteriors are illuminated with massive snowflakes, snowmen, and sparkling red and gold lights created the Christmas spirit of the city. Along with this image was the classic tree in Rockefeller Center providing viewers with another Christmas favorite and connection to the holiday season.
The Night Before also utilized classic Christmas movies to play off of and allude to, referencing Home Alone and following the main character’s tricks to stop the villains, as well as mirroring the Sticky Bandit’s methods of stealing. There were also references to How the Grinch Stole Christmas and It’s a Wonderful Life, poking fun at the films and perhaps doing a bit of an ode to them too.
Overall, the film offers a lot of laughs for its 101-minute running time. If you’re looking for a good a laugh and periods of tears forming in your eyes because you can’t handle Seth Rogen’s hilarious scenes, see The Night Before. The movie offers a nice, easy transition into Christmas time without overdoing it and is a good comedy to check out if you’re in need of an uncomplicated film that just makes you laugh. With finals quickly coming upon us, an easy-going comedy is something we all could probably use.
IMAGE TAKEN from univision.com