‘As he sat alone on Christmas Eve
his friends came over and forced him to leave.
They had to get Ethan out of his funk
So they went to a bar and got his ass drunk.’
At the outset let me say that it is extremely difficult for me to talk about this movie. Every time I try to vocalize an opinion I am overcome by laughter that takes me at least a solid two minutes to stifle. Johnathan Levine is at the helm of this very adult Christmas tale about a group of friends (played by Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt) that get together every Christmas Eve to get drunk, do drugs, and try to find the Christmas party that eludes them every year, The NutCracker Ball. What makes this film so successful is how real the characters feel. Even Anthony Mackie playing a football star named Chris, hiding a steroids secret from his friends, is relatable. Seth Rogen is Isaac, the soon to be father that is insecure about his abilities to raise a child, made me think of me and my friends as we get closer and closer to that child rearing phase of our lives. However the heart of this movie is Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s character, Ethan, who’s parent’s death is the reason why the gang gets together every Christmas Eve. The chemistry between Rogen, Mackie and Levitt is undeniable as the three riff off each other effortlessly providing laugh after laugh.
While the film does feel like a series of gags strung together, who cares if it’s so damn funny!? Also if I do say so myself, there is a lot of subtle racial commentary, what with Mackie being something of the token black friend. His football teammates make fun of him for hanging out with white boys, and he puts on a more hood version of himself to talk to his fans on social media, which is so genius that you just have to see it. What makes this movie so funny is that it hits so close to home. If you have any friends at all, then you’ve had nights like this, you’ve thought about having nights like this, you’ve dreamed about having nights like this.
So to wrap this up, I think I’ve found a new Christmas Eve tradition. No I won’t be going out and getting wasted with my boys, I’ll be watching The Night Before, and yeah, maybe getting wasted too.
Go watch this shit.
p.s. Did I mention they perform the first half of Runaway on the foot piano in F.A.O Schwarz? It’s fucking incredible.