The Night Before
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Written by Jonathan Levine, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogan, Anthony Mackie, Lizzy Caplan, Mindy Kaling, Jillian Bell, Tracy Morgan, and Michael Shannon
“The Night Before” is a cheery Christmas comedy that excels because of the combined comedic talents of the film’s three leads. Many audiences already know the great comedic chops of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogan. The two of them bringing well-crafted performances to this film should be no surprise. Anthony Mackie is proving that he is a versatile actor. While he may best known for playing The Falcon in the various Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, between this movie, “Our Brand is Crisis” and the work he did before The Falcon in the MCU, Mackie should not have any problems in his post-MCU career. The three leads are supported by a great supporting cast that includes a wonderful scene-stealing cameo, and an incredible performance from Michael Shannon.
In fact, Shannon was the most interesting part about “The Night Before.” Shannon plays a character that represents the Dickensian ghosts of Christmas present, future, and past. Shannon plays the relevant ghost to each of the three leads because each of the main characters need the guidance provided by Shannon’s character. While this can be a cliche of Christmas movies, you do not expect a movie like “The Night Before” to have a Dickensian twist.
“The Night Before” does suffer from too many standard R-rated comedy type jokes. The movie has a lot of drug and sophomoric humor, where it should have had smarter jokes. Thankfully, for the movie the three leads are gifted comedic actors, and even the jokes are tired, the movie works.
Overall, “The Night Before” was a fun watch with strong leads and nice Dickensian bend. The only thing that would have made this movie better would have been the inclusion of the song “The Night Before” by The Beatles.