Three lifelong friends score tickets to the biggest Christmas
party in New York City and struggle against all odds to get to it.
The Night Before (2015)
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Written by Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter, Ariel Shaffir,
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie,
Lizzy Caplan, Michael Shannon, Jillian Bell, Mindy Kaling,
James Franco, Miley Cyrus
Christmas comedies are in some ways harder to make than a conventional comedy. A Christmas comedy has to accomplish two things. Obviously, it has to make you laugh, but it also has to be comprised of enough Christmas cheer to watch again next year. I think The Night Before pulls this off by delivering a Christmas comedy for the Hangover crowd, but with a far more cheerful view on the season. The three leads have great chemistry and keep the film alive for the most part as we anxiously await the film's climax at the Nutcracker Ball, the Holy Grail of NYC Christmas parties.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt returns to his comedy roots as Ethan, a lonely man dedicated to tradition and unable to move on. The only family he has are his two best friends Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie), who have both moved on with their lives in big ways. They decide to throw one last hurrah in the name of the holidays and the night just gets increasingly more bizarre. Some highlights include Isaac taking every drug known to man and freaking out in a church, Michael Shannon as a Clarence the angel-type weed dealer, and the most awkward proposal of all time. Needless to say, it's a wild ride.
Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg have mastered the art of awkward comedy and putting their signature mark on Christmas was a good move. The Night Before has all the makings of an exceptional Christmas comedy with enough heart to enjoy again and again every holiday season. Granted, it also works as a terrific stoner comedy, so don't watch it with your kids.