To See or Not to See: The Night Before
The Night Before is a raunchy comedy with, surprisingly, a little bit of heart. You’ll want to see it if you like to laugh AND get little warm fuzzies (but mostly if you want to laugh).
The plot really begins ten years ago when three best friends go out on the town on Christmas Eve in order to help one of them, Ethan (the always adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt), get over the sudden death of both his parents. Since that moment, it’s been their Christmas tradition every year. Now that they are ten years older and have lives of their own, though, this is the last Christmas Eve out for the three of them. Obviously, this means the evening will be full of shenanigans and moments of truth.
We have three stereotypical guys that we are introduced to via a spoof retelling of The Night Before Christmas (voiced wonderfully by Tracy Morgan). Ethan is the man who refuses to grow up. Emotionally scarred by his parents’ death, he hasn’t gotten a real job, he was dumped by his girlfriend, and feels secretly bitter about all the change happening around him. Isaac (a really humorous Seth Rogen) is a soon-to-be-dad who seems to have it all together, but is secretly freaking out. He’s also a reformed pothead (of course) whose wife gives him permission to go wild on this last night out. Chris (suave-as-usual Anthony Mackie) is a pro-football player whose stellar season is all because he’s been secretly taking steroids. The three of them embark on a journey to accepting themselves as they are, re-affirming the strength of their friendship, and having ridiculous encounters on their way to an elusive Nutcracker Ball. Drugs, sex, women, and a fun karaoke scene naturally come into play–along with three really terrific Christmas sweaters.
Despite the too-easy of resolutions for each of their problems, overall, the movie was enjoyable. A few scenes were so laugh out loud funny that my laughter didn’t die down for a good several minutes. Seth Rogen was particularly great in a sure-to-be-infamous sexting scene which occurs after he accidentally switches phones with a character played by Mindy Kaling. In addition to Kaling, the movie has a plethora of celebrity cameos. I won’t ruin them here, but, believe me, there are some good ones.
The last reason, The Night Before was so enjoyable was because it is very relatable to the 20-and 30-something set. It’s about that time of your life when you’re an actual adult, living on your own, having serious relationships, and perhaps starting families. As all of that happens, friendship dynamics change, and you may not like it. But, like Ethan, Isaac, and Chris learn, if you have true friends, they’ll stick with you forever.
Photo Credit: Sarah Shatz / Columbia Pictures