Director: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen & Anthony Mackie
Synopsis: On Christmas Eve, three lifelong friends spend the night in New York City looking for the Holy Grail of Christams parties.
Rating: 15 Duration: 101 minutes Release date: 28 March (UK)
What’s interesting about The Night Before is its three lead actors. Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie seem like an unlikely bunch, but here as Isaac, Ethan and Chris they share a well measured chemistry. And that is where the film really succeeds, in having three actors who just click.
After Ethan’s (Gordon-Levitt) parents die in a car crash at Christmas time, his friends Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie) decide that the three of them will spend each Christmas together. They go to bars, get drunk, do a little karaoke and generally have a great time, and soon a tradition is born. But as the three get older, life gets in the way and their tradition is threatened. That is until Ethan finds tickets to the mystical Nutcracker Ball.
Shockingly, The Night Before is not very original but it is very, very funny. Our three leads seem to be enjoying each others company and their playful nature suits the tone of the film nicely. Director Jonathan Levine lets the three of them improvise their way through the film, ensuring that it has a very natural feel and that the audience doesn’t feel short changed by their relationship.
As a Christmas film, The Night Before will stand as a festive favourite, surely watched on a yearly basis. Taken out of context and its appeal is slightly less. Nevertheless, The Night Before has some great moments in it, and is pulled off by three very appealing actors who revel in each others company.
The DVD release of The Night Before features a gag reel, a making of and four features. The gag reel is the run of the mill showcase of actors ad-libbing and/or messing up their lines while on set. While the four features are all a little over three minutes in length and each focus on specific scenes from the film. Although each one is quite short, they do give a quick glimpse behind the scenes and it’s a shame they aren’t longer.
Making One Epic Party comes in at just 20 minutes long and takes a further look at the making of the film. As well as the cast and crew, director Jonathan Levine discusses the dynamic between the actors and shows us what went into several key scenes in the film. It’s interesting to hear what the individual players have to say about the film and its running time means it doesn’t outstay its welcome.