The Night Before (Blu-ray) (2015)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Christmas in the Summer
Featurette-The Spirit of Christmas
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Drunkest Santas on the Block
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Midnight Mass with Nana
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Whale Juice
Featurette-Mr. Green O-Rama
Featurette-Making Of-Making One Epic Party
|Year Of Production||2015|
|RSDL / Flipper||Dual Layered||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Jonathan Levine|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Italian DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
††† Adult Christmas movies are few and far between, as the majority of Hollywoodís festive output is aimed at the younger demographic. With the controversy of 2014ís The Interview now in the past, filmmaking duo Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg turn their attention to the holiday season for The Night Before, collaborating with 50/50 director Jonathan Levine for a rowdy, R-rated stoner comedy that also finds time for meaning and drama. Although amusing at times, it falls short of its potential, with the monkey business too often interrupted by half-hearted attempts at sincerity that lack genuine impact. Itís certainly a far cry from the unorthodox brilliance of Bad Santa, though itís not entirely without merit.
††† As a young man, Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) lost his parents in a tragic car accident, leaving him without a family on Christmas. However, friends Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) come to the rescue, establishing a new tradition to come together every Christmas Eve to party. But with the trio all now in their thirties and ready to get serious about family and career, they decide that this yearís night of drunken debauchery will be their last. Hoping to go out on a high note, Ethan manages to steal tickets to the biggest, most exclusive party in New York City: the elusive Nutcracker Ball. But not everything is working in the trioís favour, especially with Isaac consuming far too many drugs from a gift box that was given to him by his pregnant wife Betsy (Jillian Bell), while Ethan pines for beloved ex-girlfriend Diana (Lizzy Caplan).
††† Itís a standard set-up which suggests a simplistic string of comic set-pieces, but Levine and co-writers Goldberg, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir search for meaning in each of the three leads, creating emotional arcs in amid all the drugs and booze. On top of Ethanís depression relating to the loss of his parents and the break-up with Diana, Isaac freaks out over the notion of being a parent, and Chris starts using steroids to improve his NFL performance. Itís laudable that The Night Before has ambitions beyond straight-up partying, but Levine has trouble negotiating the tricky tonal changes for this dramedy, and it feels laboured as a result when it should be breezy. Worse, a number of the jokes are on the pedestrian side, with Rogen simply overacting as per usual while the script mostly relies on improvisation to get laughs. Unfortunately, itís hard to recall any particularly witty quotes.
††† However, The Night Before is not a complete travesty. There are scenes and moments that do work, while cinematographer Brandon Trost (The Interview) beautifully sets the Christmas mood with proficient lighting techniques and framing, dovetailed by an array of recognisable festive songs. The movie even opens with an amusing rhyme to make the story seem more like an old-fashioned Christmas tale, energetically delivered by none other than Tracy Morgan who serves as the movieís narrator. But the ace in the hole here is Michael Shannon (Man of Steel) as a zen-like drug dealer whose special brand of weed opens up portals to the past and future. Shannon is able to effortlessly achieve laughs by being so subdued in comparison to rest of the cast, and youíre ultimately left wishing that he had a bigger role. Meanwhile, Gordon-Levitt and Mackie are appealing, Bell gets a few moments to shine, and Caplan is disarming as always.
††† The Night Before simply cannot figure out if it wants to be a sweet dramedy like the excellent 50/50, or a straight-up stoner comedy like This is the End or Pineapple Express. Itís disjointed as a result, but it does provide some fun throughout its 100-minute runtime, especially when the action shifts to the Nutcracker Ball where some famous faces show up (including Miley Cyrus, who runs with the opportunity to play a comically unhinged version of herself). It may not become a widespread new annual Christmas-watching tradition, but The Night Before certainly shouldnít wind up being listed as one of the worst Yuletide movies in existence.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
† † All editions worldwide are identical in terms of extras, only differing with audio and subtitle options. Buy local.
|DVD||PlayStation 4, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||LG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W|