“The Night Before” is the seventh film by director Jonathan Levine (“Warm Bodies,” “50/50”). Released on Nov. 20, “The Night Before” stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Looper”), Seth Rogen (“The Interview”), and Anthony Mackie (“The Hurt Locker”).
The film centers around three best friends: Ethan, Isaac, and Chris (GordonLevitt, Rogen, and Mackie), as they embark on their final installation of a longstanding Christmas Eve tradition.
After Ethan’s parents were killed near Christmas in 2001, he, Chris, and Isaac decide to wallow in sadness and instead have an epic night on the town.
Thus begins their annual tradition of visiting the Rockefeller Christmas tree, playing a department store floor piano “like Tom Hanks in ‘Big’,” and doing karaoke in a local bar, all while clad in ugly holiday sweaters.
On Christmas Eve 2008, the guys encounter a group of people who have just left the city’s craziest Christmas party: The Nutcracka Ball. They’re told the Ball is the most exclusive and awesome party in the city, and you can only find it if you have a ticket.
For the next few years, Ethan, Isaac, and Chris try to get tickets to no avail, until Christmas 2015 when Ethan happens to find three (which he promptly steals) while working as a coat taker at a holiday party.
The rest of the film follows the trio as they complete each activity on their list of things to do on their way to the Ball, and along the way we learn more about the issues each guy has.
Isaac is under enormous stress because of his incoming daughter, and is afraid that
he’ll fail as a father.
Chris is alienating his friends and family due to his success as a steroid-using football star.
Ethan is incapable of moving past his parents’ death and growing up.
On the way to the Ball, the boys buy pot from their old teacher/dealer: Mr. Green. He sells “the weed of Christmas Present” and “Future”, to Chris and Isaac respectively, and it gives them both visions of their lives a la “A Christmas Carol.” Ethan gets his own vision near the close of the film, focusing on his past and his fear of losing his friends.
Overall, “The Night Before” is definitely a funny film. The humor is more geared towards guys and stoners, but there are moments that can be laughed at by everyone.
Apart from the comedy, the messages given in the film are actually pretty good ones, such as not being afraid of the future and having confidence in yourself, appreciating your friends and family and being honest with yourself and the world, and growing up and knowing when it’s time to take things seriously.
Laughs are had, lessons are learned, and many drugs are done by Seth Rogen. I enjoyed this film about as much as I thought I would. “The Night Before” gets a 7/10. Maybe an 8/10 because of the soundtrack.
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