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REVIEW OF THE NIGHT BEFORE

year: 2015 cast: Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, James Franco
It's tough not to compare three guys having a wild night on the town to THE HANGOVER, but with the exception of Seth Rogen's completely drugged-up, proudly Jewish Isaac during Christmas, actually, THE NIGHT BEFORE the big holiday, everything happening is very memorable and important to their lives, originated a decade earlier after Ethan, played by token vulnerable guy Joseph Gordon-Levitt, tragically lost his parents wherein Isaac and their athletic buddy, Anthony Mackie as Chris Roberts, decided to annually met up at a central location in New York and let the party begin.

Movie Poster
Skipping ahead a few years, all narrated like some kind of important folklore, the trio find out about a hidden rave, and, after several more years trying to find it, they finally get tickets taking them on a maze to their destination, all part of the overall nighttime journey. Each character, surprisingly human and fleshed-out for this kind of super-R-rated, Judd Apatow-inspired comedy, are relatable and sweet, deep down: especially Mackie, an NFL star with a secret for his talent and Levitt, smitten with the girl who got away. And as already mentioned, Rogen's Issac, tripping on a load of drugs actually given to him by an open-minded pregnant wife, provides a frantic, psychedelic break from the inner conflict of his more mellow buddies.

Overall, NIGHT is basically an odyssey "road movie" taking us from one location to another, and some situations are funnier, and less contrived, than others. When the group sporadically breaks apart, the buddy comedy vibe can, at times, become somewhat "serious" as there's an underline theme about growing up and settling down. Meanwhile, scene-stealer Michael Shannon plays Mr. Green, a strange, mesmerizing phantom pot dealer, and could have had his very own movie with the trio as guest stars.

RATING: ***1/2
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