DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Jonathan Levine
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie
Writing Credits:
Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir, Evan Goldberg

On Christmas Eve, three lifelong friends spend the night in New York City looking for the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.

Box Office:
$25 million.
Opening Weekend
$9,880,536 on 2960 Screens
Domestic Gross

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Thai Dolby 5.1
Chinese Simplified
Chinese Traditional
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 3/1/2016

• 4 Deleted & Extended Scenes
• Gag Reel
• “Christmas in the Summer” Featurette
• “The Spirit Of Christmas” Featurette
• “Drunkest Santas on the Block” Featurette
• “Midnight Mass with Nana” Featurette
• “Whale Juice” Featurette
• “Mr. Green O-Rama” Featurette
• “Making One Epic Party” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Night Before [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 30, 2020)

Not many Christmas movies venture into “R”-rated territory, as most prefer a family-friendly vibe. With 2015’s The Night Before, though, we find a stoner flick meant for adult audiences.

Friends since childhood, Ethan Miller (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac Greenberg (Seth Rogen), and Chris Roberts (Anthony Mackie) always celebrate Christmas Eve together. As they got older, they pursued more debauched ways, and these led them toward annual – and futile – attempts to locate “The Nutcracker Ball”, allegedly the biggest and baddest blowout in town.

Now well into adulthood, Isaac and Chris think this tradition needs to come to an end. However, Ethan doesn’t seem ready to move on, and this leads to their wildest Christmas Eve of all.

Over the decades, we’ve seen many movies that pursue the same vein as Before. We follow the characters as they go through “one crazy night” and engage in all sorts of wacky shenanigans.

Outside of the Yuletide theme, does Before find anything fresh to do with the material? No, and it instead turns into a pretty major disappointment.

Of the three main actors, Before feels like the most natural fit for Rogen, as it connects his brand of lewd, profane comedy. Gordon-Levitt and Mackie enjoy much broader filmographies, and when you combine the subject matter with the fact Rogen co-produced the flick, it turns into a pretty obvious match with his usual fare.

Ever since Rogen gained fame with 2007’s Knocked Up, he’s produced a wildly uneven filmography. Actually, that probably gives Rogen more credit than he deserves, as I believe his roster of movies more often leans toward bad than good.

Still, Rogen can be funny, and I went into Before with decent expectations. I thought the presence of Gordon-Levitt and Mackie – more three-dimensional actors than the fairly one-note Rogen – would add depth to the project and make it more than just a series of lowest common denominator gags.

Unfortunately, this failed to prove correct. Instead, Before embraces every cheap stab at humor that it can find, all in the pursuit of lazy “comedy”.

Actually, Before manages a few laughs in its first act. I do like the premise, and I welcome “R”-rated holiday movies as a contrast to the standard sickly sweet content.

However, once the sugar rush of an “R”-rated Christmas comedy wears off – which occurs quickly – we find there’s no “there” there. Rather than find cleverness or wit, Before just shoots low, and even then, it fails to hit the target.

Despite the basic narrative thrust, Before rapidly becomes not much more than a random conglomeration of trite, predictable gags with no logic or purpose - and precious little comedy. We can see the “comedy” well in advance, and precious few of these bits amuse.

That becomes the saddest aspect of Before: its inherent laziness. We get a cast and crew who boast talent, but no one involved seems to want to challenge themselves.

As such, we find a movie that reminds me somewhat of Adam Sandler’s awful Grown Ups. I felt that stinker came across like Sandler gathered his buddies over a weekend and made up the jokes as they went along – and I’m still not entirely convinced that wasn’t the case.

With Before, I don’t really believe Rogen and company shot the flick over a casual weekend, but I sense few more obvious signs of effort than what we got from Sandler and crew. Before comes across as so lazy and ill-planned that it offers little evidence of any creative effort behind it.

I went into Night Before with the hope and assumption I'd like it wanted to see it. Unfortunately, I felt bored through most of it, as it just went nowhere and offered far too few laughs to be worthwhile.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

The Night Before appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the movie looked attractive.

Sharpness was usually solid. A few wider shots showed a little softness, but those instances remained minor. Instead, the majority of the movie seemed accurate and concise.

I saw no signs of jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws were a non-factor, as I witnessed no specks, marks or other debris.

Colors were good. In addition to some of the usual Christmas red and green, the film opted for a fairly teal and orange palette and the Blu-ray replicated these tones in an appealing manner.

Black levels were appropriately deep, and shadows seemed clear and well-rendered. Across the board, the visuals proved to be pleasing.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Before suited the story pretty well but won't win any awards. The soundstage appeared nicely broad at the appropriate times and could be moderately engulfing on occasion.

It's a talky little movie for the most part so the focus was mainly up front, but the audio expanded when necessary. Music broadened well, and effects occasionally used the spectrum in a satisfying way via elements like vehicular elements and general craziness. None of this made it a consistently active track, but it had its moments.

Sound quality seemed fine. Dialogue always appeared crisp and natural, and I had no trouble understanding it.

Music was warm and distinctive, and effects also seemed realistic and more than adequate for the tasks at hand, with good bass as necessary. All of this made the mix a solid “B”.

A slew of video extras arrive, and we find four Deleted & Extended Scenes. These fill a total of eight minutes and lean toward added character bits. Nothing especially memorable results, though we do get a little extra backstory about Chris’s football career.

A Gag Reel spans one minute and mostly consists of Seth Rogen as he guffaws. That makes it less than engaging.

Some featurettes follow, and Christmas in the Summer runs five minutes, 35 seconds. It offers notes from director Jonathan Levine, special effects foreman Bob Scupp, production designer Annie Spitz, co-writers Ariel Shaffir and Kyle Hunter, producer/co-writer Evan Goldberg, producer James Weaver, and actors Anthony Mackie and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

“Summer” looks at the movie’s sweater choices as well as sets/locations and shooting a winter movie in the heat. It becomes a decent little overview.

The Spirit of Christmas goes for three minutes, 23 seconds and features Rogen, Levine, Gordon-Levitt, Shaffir, Hunter, Mackie, and actor Lizzy Caplan. They talk about their own Christmas experiences in this fairly light piece.

With Drunkest Santas on the Block, we find a four-minute, 27-second program that includes comments from Levine and actors Jason Mantzoukas and Jason Jones. They talk a little about the inebriated Santa characters, but mostly we find alternate lines. Those make it worth a look.

Midnight Mass with Nana spans four minutes, six seconds and brings info from Levine and actors Darrie Lawrence, Helene Yorke, Curt Bouril and Jillian Bell. We get notes about the scene in question along with more alternate dialogue. Expect another watchable reel.

After this we find the three-minute, 11-second Whale Juice. It includes remarks from Levine, Rogen and Bell.

Like its predecessors, “Juice” mixes scene-specific comments with added lines. It works fine within that construct.

Mr. Green O-Rama fills three minutes, 59 seconds and features Gordon-Levitt. Mostly we get more alternate dialogue that revolves around Michael Shannon’s character. We get some fun bits here.

Finally, Making One Epic Party runs 20 minutes, 22 seconds and involves Levine, Gordon-Levitt, Rogen, Mackie, Shaffir, Hunter, Goldberg, Weaver, Caplan, Bell, and actors Mindy Kaling and Ilana Glazer.

“Epic” looks at the project’s genesis and development, story and characters, cast and performances, and general Christmas movie thoughts. It lacks much depth, but it manages some decent glimpses of the production.

The disc opens with ads for The Walk, The Brothers Grimsby, The 5th Wave. The Driftless Area, Pride + Prejudice + Zombies and The Bronze. No trailer for Before appears here.

Occasionally funny but mostly trite, The Night Before doesn’t click. Despite all the components for a fun “R”-rated Christmas movie, it relies on too many cheap gags to succeed. The Blu-ray brings good picture and audio along with a decent array of bonus materials. This winds up as a semi-witless disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main