Hollywood has always had a love affair with Christmas movies. It’s A Wonderful Life, A Christmas Story and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation have become a part of our traditions. Not all Christmas movies are created equal though, for every classic there is a Christmas With The Cranks, a Surviving Christmas, a Jingle All The Way and a Deck The Halls. This week, The Night Before, from the creators of This Is The End and Neighbors, tries to become a hit and a tradition with its unique comic voice.
Ethan(Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac(Seth Rogen) and Chris(Anthony Mackie) are best friends forged from a family tragedy whose Christmas Eve tradition of drunken debauchery and searching for an exclusive party is coming to an end as each faces adulthood.
The film is laugh out loud funny and sentimental at the same time. There are several guffaw inducing scenes that had the screening audience missing chunks of dialogue from the laughter. I am also happy to report, most of the funny moments have not even been seen in the advertisements which often happens with big screen comedy films.
The cameos also come fast and furious with three standouts. Micheal Shannon as Mr. Green steals every scene he is in as a sage pot dealer from the boy’s past. Ilana Glazer, one of the breakout stars from Comedy Central’s Broad City, delivers instant laughs as a Die Hard/Home Alone villain obsessed groupie. The 3rd is a surprise that will not be spoiled by me but should be obvious once a sext arrives with a familiar name…
The Night Before is a surprisingly warm debaucherous comedy about staying true to your friends as adulthood creeps on you and will probably find a place in my yearly rotation of holiday classics.