Monday, March 14, 2016

indelible moment: Levine's "The Night Before"

© Sarah Shatz/Columbis Pictures
 Gordon-Levitt and Cyrus, crooning

There are certain comedy genres that are irresistible, one of which is the "night on the town" comedy as exemplified by everything from Martin Scorsese's "After Hours" (1985) to Chris Columbus' "Adventures in Babysitting" (1987) - movies in which a night goes on seemingly forever.

One of the best (and an all-around terrific comedy in general) is Jonathan Levine's "The Night Before" (2015), about three guys - played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogan and Anthony Mackie - who traditionally stretch every Christmas Eve into a night-long tradition of brief encounters and non-stop fun, again another blissful night that goes on seemingly forever.

Jonathan Levine is a name that is new to me and, despite his youth, he brings a certain sophistication and gracefulness to the on-going carousing in his film, helped in no small measure by Brando Trost's shimmering cinematography.  This hip movie looks like the fabulous party that it is.

The film's penultimate moment comes in a club where just about the film's entire cast congregates - Gordon-Levitt, Rogan, Mackie, Mindy Kaling, James Franco, Lizzy Caplan and the singular Miley Cyrus, who is performing at the club.  When Gordon-Levitt jumps on stage to join Miley in a duet of "Wrecking Ball," his way of proposing to Caplan, the moment becomes magical.  Although they're not in this sequence, one can feel the presence of co-stars Michael Shannon, Jillian Bell, Lorraine Toussaint and the incorrigible Ilana Glazer ("Broad City"!), who plays a Christmas-hating street-prowler named ... Rebecca Grinch. A companionable bunch all.

Levine also has a shrewd eye for casting.  This is a hip, terrific ensemble here. Companionable indeed.


Alex said...

Thanks! An unsung comedy gem that seemed to come in under the radar last December and was written off prematurely by the critics. And, yes, the moment that you single out is indelible.

I.D. Will said...

laughed my ass off