Director: Jonathan Levine
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray & DVD March 1, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have been friends since childhood, and for a decade, their yearly Christmas Eve reunion has been an annual night of debauchery and hilarity. Now that they’re entering adulthood, the tradition is coming to an end, and to make it as memorable as possible, they set out to find the Nutcracka Ball – the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.
‘The Night Before’ follows three lifelong best friends Ethan (Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie), who since the untimely passing of Ethan’s parents on Christmas Eve years prior have made it a yearly tradition to go crazy and get as wasted as possible on that night in order to try and let loose and have some much needed fun in place of misery. Now, on the eve of what the three have mutually agreed would be their final night in the long standing tradition, Ethan miraculously stumbles upon three tickets to the most exclusive Christmas party in existence and the one party they have been trying to locate to no avail every year, a sure sign they are destined to conclude their tradition with a bang; assuming of course that they make it amidst the constant hilarious conflictions that continue to arise along the way.
Directed by Jonathan Levine (Warm Bodies, All The Boys Love Mandy Lane) from a script he also co-wrote along with Rogen’s regular partner/collaborator Evan Goldberg (This Is The End) and first time (feature film) screenwriters Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffirand, Levine does a fantastic job at the helm of ‘The Night Before’ and perfectly merges the Christmas spirit and the insane, raunchy and substance-enhanced fun. The film also includes a hilarious and perfectly suited cast including Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Jillian Bell, Lizzy Caplan, Mindy Kaling, the incredibly talented Michael Shannon (who steals every scene he’s in) and more (some better left unmentioned), the majority of which delivering fitting performances in each of their respective roles.
‘The Night Before’ is hilarious Christmas fun aimed for the younger adult audience. Filled with plenty of Christmas spirit, not to mention a plethora of references and gags referring to some of the more popular seasonal films of the generation including Die Hard, Big and more, while always approaching the material with a somewhat sarcastic tone which is often playfully offensive with a drug-fueled hilarity that balances everything into one incredibly fun ride. Those who appreciate this style of humor definitely won’t want to miss out on this one and I would highly recommend giving it a whirl. Regardless of the surprisingly negative response I’ve seen from many, I personally found it to be one of the funniest films of the previous year.
Overall, ‘The Night Before’ is nonstop, hilarious Christmas fun that should be a true gift for those who appreciate the more offensive and raunchy brand of humor. Reteaming director Jonathan Levine and actors Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen who previously worked together on ‘50/50’, any fan of this brand of humor will want to make certain to check out ‘The Night Before’, it should make a perfect selection for an evening viewing in which you merely want to relax, laugh and have fun.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Night Before’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks fantastic, delivering a sharp and detailed presentation from start to finish with no notable faults to be found within, beautifully displaying the lights and other Holiday surroundings and holding up impressively even during the darkly lit, heavily populated and fast moving sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is another impressive high definition video presentation from Sony that should easily please the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds wonderful and provides a clean, discrete and surprisingly aggressive audio presentation. It frequently utilizes all five available channels in order to surround the viewer with the music in addition to plenty of crowd activity at the multiple ventures they visit, random drug-related and other auditory effects and more regularly making their way throughout the channels, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a tremendous 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes yet another layer of fun to this incredibly enjoyable film.
The Blu-ray release of ‘The Night Before’ includes a number of enjoyable extras. Included on the release are ‘Deleted and Extended Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 8 minutes in length altogether), along with a short ‘Gag Reel’ (approximately 1 minute). We are also treated to a number of behind the scenes Featurettes that include hilarious behind the scenes shenanigans (or footage) and interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Making One Epic Party’ (approximately 20 minutes), ‘Christmas in the Summer’ (6 minutes), ‘The Spirit Of Christmas’ (3 minutes), ‘Drunkest Santas On The Block’ (4 minutes), ‘Midnight Mass With Nana’ (4 minutes), ‘Whale Juice’ (3 minutes), and ‘Mr. Green O-Rama’ (4 minutes).