By: Bailey Hart
The Night Before is this year’s raunchy Christmas-themed comedy, following in the vein of films such as Bad Santa and A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas. Such movies solely exist as passing entertainments, and are typically very easily forgotten. For better or for worse, The Night Before proudly fits this trend.
Starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Anthony Mackie (the guy who played Falcon in the Avengers), The Night Before follows three friends as they traverse relationship problems, adult responsibilities, and traditional desires of years gone by. As such, The Night Before often teeters between outrageous, schlocky, vulgar humor, and emotional appeal that ranges from decent to completely misplaced.
The movie’s pretty funny. The movie’s pretty basic. The movie’s a rated R comedy starring Seth Rogen, and follows all expectations within that mold. It features the expected celebrity cameo appearance (in which the only humor lies in the mere presence of said celebrity), overt product placement that is lazily and unconvincingly framed as satire of product placement, and plenty of jokes dependent on the audience’s tolerance for immaturity.
Where the film differentiates itself from other similar films is in its overt appreciation for family Christmas movies such as Elf, The Santa Claus, and Home Alone. It not only maintains much of the fantasy logic involved in such movies, but uses that logic to its advantage in many unique and subtly surreal moments.
Fans of Seth Rogen will not be let down. Fans of raunchy comedy movies will not be let down. The Night Before is the kind of movie that’s not very interesting to review, because it’s so decent at being what it’s expected to be that not much more can be said about it. It isn’t exceptional, but it certainly isn’t bad. That being said, it deserves about a B-.