Story by Adam Winn, Staff writer
“The Night Before” is a Christmas-themed comedy that is not only an outrageously funny film, but is also filled with relatable drama, making the film much more than your typical comedy. Audience members who loved other Seth Rogen movies, such as “This is the End,” “Neighbors” and “Pineapple Express,” are guaranteed to love this new movie as well.
The film tells the story of Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie), who are all best friends. After Ethan’s parents tragically died a decade earlier in a car crash, the trio start a tradition where they decide to spend every Christmas Eve partying and getting drunk together.
However, now that they are all in their 30s and their lives a lot more demanding than they used to be, either due to their careers or starting families of their own, they agree to make this Christmas Eve the last one they plan to spend with one another.
After Ethan comes across three tickets to an exclusive party called the “Nutcracker Ball” that’s thrown every year on Christmas Eve in New York City, the friends decide to embark on an alcohol and drug-binge filled night before they head to the legendary party. This leads the characters on a road of chaos and shenanigans, much to the viewer’s enjoyment.
During their adventures, they each run into their old high school drug dealer, Mr. Green (Michael Shannon), who characterizes himself as a ghost of the past, present and future for each one of the trio, which ultimately causes each one of them to come face-to-face with some of difficulties they have been facing in their lives.
For instance, Isaac is worried about dealing with the impending role of being a new father and is not sure if he’s ready for the responsibilities that come along with it.
The film is edge-of-your-seat entertaining, leaving the viewers fighting back tears from laughing so much. It is also filled with tons of vulgar moments where the audience is left sitting stunned, thinking, “I can’t believe they just did that.” In other words, this is definitely not the kind of film viewers would want to watch with a younger sibling or a conservative older parent.
For example, one scene involves the character Isaac, who is Jewish and happens to be wearing a sweater with the Star of David on it, going into the middle of a midnight mass service in a church while high on drugs. He stares at a statue of Jesus on the cross, throws up in the aisle and then runs out of the crowded church screaming, “We did not kill Jesus!”
The acting is blended perfectly throughout the movie, containing the right amount of funny to make people laugh and not be over the top and also serious at necessary points too, especially when dealing with the death of Ethan’s parents.
Rogen does a great job, like always, playing the funny-stoner guy who is trying to get his life together in order to start a family. Gordon-Levitt portrays the emotional character who is still having a tough time growing up and is constantly stuck in the past. Anthony Mackie’s character is the more grounded of the trio, but also deals with the hidden burdens of recently becoming a famous football star.
The film is also loaded with celebrity cameos, and without spoiling any, some will be obvious if you’ve ever watched a Seth Rogen film before and some of them will be unexpected. All were ultimately entertaining additions to the cast.
Movie viewers who are fans of comedy films will be missing out if they don’t go and watch this one. “The Night Before” is a great film, easily re-watchable and is one of those movies that people will probably be watching and quoting many years from now.