The Night Before review: ‘Probably most people’s idea of a nightmare’

09:19 07 December 2015

Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie in The Night Before. Picture: Sarah Shatz/Columbia Pictures

Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Anthony Mackie in The Night Before. Picture: Sarah Shatz/Columbia Pictures

© 2015 Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

This is a Christmas comedy that delivers lots of ho ho ho, but precious little in the way of good cheer, writes Michael Joyce.

The last time Gordon-Levitt, Rogen and Levine teamed up, in 50/50, JG-L was battling to survive cancer. His lot has definitely picked up this time round: now he’s one of three buddies who for the last time are observing a seasonal tradition to go out and get wrecked together in New York on Christmas Eve.

The idea of a comedy, featuring most of the people behind The Interview, that riffs on themes from A Christmas Carol but includes copious swearing, drug use and anti-social behaviour, is probably many people’s idea of a nightmare, but the film is more of a bad dream; specifically the bad dream where you are trying to get somewhere but you never get anywhere. At the start Levitt acquires tickets for a highly secret, Eyes Wide Shut type party that he has always wanted to go to. Then of course the film is taken up with the mishaps that prevent them from getting there.

The problem with the movie is that the audiences comes to share the frustration the characters feel at not getting there because the ruses the script uses to stop them are so weak. The comedy is also tiredly familiar. Seth Rogen spends the whole movie taking drugs and speculating about what it would be like to have sex with a man – as he does in every movie he makes. He is though by far the best thing in the film and has a couple of hilarious moments of Jewish crucifixion guilt.

Rating: 2/5 stars

Latest Hampstead & Highgate Stories

Anoushka Beazley found her vocation in writing a debut novel about a mother who steals to pay school fees

A row has broken out over plans to dig out a basement car park and swimmming pool next to Hampstead Heath.


Hampstead & Westminster captain Toby Roche has set his side the target of joining club hockey’s European elite after emerging as the league’s surprise package this season.

Yesterday, 22:30

Mauricio Pochettino says he is happy with Dele Alli’s goal return and insists the midfielder should not be expected to score as regularly as a striker.

Yesterday, 17:15

A heritage campaigner has told of his devastation after he watched raiders ransack a disused pub that he fought to preserve.

Yesterday, 17:05

Finding each other has helped one group of north London makers collaborate and launch new businesses from humble hobbies. Now Muswell Hill Creatives are going on tour. Catch them at a craft fair near you this autumn.

Yesterday, 16:06

Netley primary pupils will perform a play based on adults’ replies to their questions about growing up

Yesterday, 15:45

A historic red phone box in Highgate Village could soon be a tiny office space, complete with printing, scanning, copying and wifi

Most read Hampstead & Highgate etcetera


Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now