You know how you see a trailer for a movie and it looks hilarious and you just hope that they didn’t cram all the funny bits into the preview? Well, unfortunately, that’s what happened here. That isn’t to say I didn’t find The Night Before (2015) enjoyable, but it lacked that extra bit of unexpected humor that I found in, say, Neighbors or This is the End or Get Him to the Greek. It was amusing, yes, but uproariously hilarious? Not so much.
The Night Before is the nouveau-frat pack of Christmas movies. (What are we calling the Seth Rogan/James Franco bromance bunch? Do they have a catchy name? Can someone get on that?) Joseph Gordon-Levitt has spent Christmas Eve with buddies Seth Rogan and Anthony Mackie every year since his parents’ deaths. With Mackie getting too famous for his bros and Rogan on his way to becoming a father, the trio decide this will be the last year they partake in the ritual and do it up in the biggest way they possibly can. Cue the overindulgence in drugs, the drunken proclamations of love, the freakouts about adulthood, and the neatly packaged realizations that they already have everything they need to be the people they want to be.
It’s all just a little bit too tidy. Too heartfelt. I understand that they were going for a raucous, pot-induced remake of A Christmas Carol (I did really enjoy the use of Michael Shannon as a plot device here), but it just wasn’t as innovative as I was hoping it would be. Now, perhaps that’s because I’m a Scrooge at heart – I hate the “holiday season” – but I think that with the right amount of good storytelling and intelligent humor, even I can be won over. After all, I do love Love Actually. But, as much as I love Seth, JGL, and Falcon, I didn’t love this.