If you’re looking for a conventional, warm-hearted holiday classic that will remind you to cherish those you love, The Night Before has it, but it’s all rolled up with typical Seth Rogen humor and the cannabis of Christmas spirit.
When unforeseen tragedy inflicts the lives of best friends Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) one Christmas, the three young friends begin their tradition of spending Christmas Eve together getting into drunk holiday shenanigans. Then, one fateful Christmas Eve, their tradition gets shaken up when they hear about the best Christmas party in New York City, The Nutcracker Ball. From that night on, finding the party’s secret location becomes their annual holiday quest.
Ten years later, the three friends have taken different paths in life and are beginning to grow apart. Isaac (Rogen) is about to become a father, Chris (Mackie) is a famous football player, and Ethan (Gordon-Levitt) is stuck in a jobless, loveless rut. Even though they have yet to find the infamous Nutcracker Ball, they decide that this Christmas Eve will be the last one that they spend together. With Christmas magic (and a little bit of cocaine) in the air, the night turns into laughs and lessons that neither the characters, nor the audience expect.
With a seemingly simple plot about three best friends reconnecting, the writers cleverly reference scenes from multiple classic Christmas movies (Home Alone, It’s a Wonderful Life) to give this movie a nostalgic holiday feel. As any other traditional Christmas movie, The Night Before offers lessons to be taught, love to be regained and the true meaning of family to be discovered. But, of course, none of this happens without Seth Rogen’s raunchy, carefree sense of humor.
Fans of Superbad, Pineapple Express, This Is The End and other Rogen comedies will not be disappointed with his holiday parody. There’s excessive drug use, explicit language, strong sexual content, a couple spastic fight scenes and humor that is not afraid to insult viewers. Tracey Morgan immediately sets the sarcastic, light tone from the beginning as he narrates the story. The rest of Rogen’s goofball humor follows smoothly behind Morgan’s jokester voice. Other well-known actors make cameo appearances throughout the movie as well, which just adds to the hilarious atmosphere.
Even though The Night Before is not meant to be something you watch with the kiddos while opening presents and leaving cookies out for Santa, it does capture the Christmas spirit and the essence of friendship. Rather than watching Elf for the twelfth year in a row, The Night Before is the perfect movie for friends who want to kick back with some eggnog and have a side-splitting laugh together this holiday season.
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