The Night Before Proves Dramatic Actors Can Do Comedy Well

The movie The Night Before was released into theatres last Friday. The film stars Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie as a group of friends celebrating their last Christmas together, before life inevitably changes their holiday traditions. Ethan (Gordon-Levitt) is reluctant to let his Christmas traditions end, but the changing lives of his friends, Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie), force Ethan to grown up.

While the film advertises Rogen’s comedic moments heavily in its trailers, with his typical drug-related humour and dick jokes, the plot predominantly revolves around Gordon-Levitt’s character and his refusal to deal with his past issues, specifically his recent break up.

Despite having the film revolve around him, Ethan is the least interesting of the three main characters. His plot about growing up has been done before in better comedies. That being said, Rogen and Mackie’s side plots are surprisingly more interesting than Gordon-Levitt’s and provide solid development for both characters.

All the character’s plots do well to highlight the film’s message of growing up, and dealing with the problems of being an adult. The plot, along with the films 18A rating, effectively relates to their target audience – young adults in their late twenties and early thirties.

Mackie, though known for playing Sam Wilson/The Falcon in the Captain America films, as well as smaller, dramatic roles, proves himself in The Night Before, delivering solid bits of comedy, and maintaining great chemistry with Rogen and Gordon-Levitt, despite not working with either actor before.

Another shocking standout: Michael Shannon’s character, Mr. Green, who is not advertised in the trailers. He takes on the role of the “wise old man,” serving as a mentor for the three friends, and flips the trope on its head slightly, taking on the persona of an experienced stoner, who leaves viewers both laughing and thinking.

Like in other films that are Rogen and Evan Goldberg (writer) projects, the movie has a few surprise cameos, mostly consisting of Rogen’s regular group of comedic actors. While there are fewer cameos than expected, those who do appear in the film do not disappoint, and proved more quality to the film than quantity.

For frequent viewers of Seth Rogen comedies, this film is quite satisfying. While there aren’t too many earth-shakingly funny moment, the humour of the film is consistent, and will make viewers chuckle a few times throughout. The Night Before will not go down in history as one of the best comedies of the last ten years, but it does leave the audience in good spirits, and is a good recommendation to anyone who simply wants to see a film and have a good time.

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