CME – Movie #12 – The Night Before

November 21, 2016

I can’t stand Seth Rogen. I used to like him. In Freaks and Geeks he was great. Not sure when it happened but around Zack and Miri I started to dislike the guy.

It’s with that in mind I say I LOVED him in this movie.

So we have Seth, who I generally don’t like. Anthony Mackie who I only really know from being Falcon in the Marvel movies, and a brilliant portrayal of Martin Luther King Jnr in All The Way. (The Lyndon B Johnson biopic. I HIGHLY recommend it BTW.)

Then we get to the third member of the male leads… Joseph Gordon Levitt. My absolute favourite current actor. Levitt is up there with the late Heath Ledger in my opinion. A tremendous actor who has charted their own course. Ironically I became a fan of both due to the film Ten Things I Hate About You. (One of the most underrated movies ever made.)

The plot (spoilers for the first five minutes of the film, and no more than you got in the trailer): In 2001, Ethan (Levitt) loses his parents to a drunk driver right on top of Christmas. His close friends Isaac (Rogen) and Chris (Mackie) rally around him, and begin a Christmas tradition of drinking, and generally mucking about on Christmas Eve. Fast forward to 2008 and the friends learn of a legendary Christmas Eve party called The Nutcracka Ball.

Fast forward to the present. Ethan is still alone, having split with his girlfriend, played by my favourite actress, Lizzy Caplan. (Rare to see your favourite actor AND actress in the same film.) Isaac is a family man with a heavily pregnant wife, while Chris has a late blooming NFL career which is revealed right from the start to be due to steroid abuse.

As their lives are moving on, for two of them at least, they decide this is the last year. Coincidentally Ethan just happens to get hold of three tickets for the Nutcracka.

As the three get ready to leave for their final Christmas outing, Isaac‘s wife, to thank him for being a rock through her pregnancy, gives him an early Christmas present. A box full of various drugs. Mushrooms, coke, weed, you name it… Of which he almost immediately starts to imbibe.

Cue Seth Rogen being completely off his face for the entire movie, which is comedy gold! Especially a scene at Chris’ moms involving a cellphone. I won’t spoil it but it’s very crude and graphic and I don’t think anyone other than Rogen could have pulled it off as convincingly. I also enjoyed his time with Spencer.

What we have here is a buddy movie, and a fairly good one, set at Christmas. An examination of how our lives change and the effect it has on others. A line toward the end says as you get older it’s harder to keep friends as you “have your own shit to deal with”. I’m 45 years old and can attest to this.

It’s in that rare category of R rated Christmas comedy. Harold and Kumar being the benchmark. This movie is fun, has some great gags, great cameos, and is worth seeking out so long as you don’t get offended easily. (If you saw Harold and Kumar, you can expect much the same.)  It’s a breath of fresh air after a week of Hallmark and Lifetime movies.

And as a huge fan of both, Lizzy Caplan and Joseph Gordon Levitt shine when they’re together.

4 out of 5 Jingle Bells.

2016 Christmas Movie Reviews List

 

 

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