The Night Before

This is the most easily swallowed holiday movie I’ve ever seen. Maybe that reveals my inner Grinchiness, but the truth is, no matter how magical the season, my threshold for the trite & schmaltzy is painfully low. Every time a family literally gathers around a piano to sing carols, I want to slit my night-before-featwrists and douse all the mistletoe and twinkle lights in my eggnog-infused blood.

Ethan’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) parents died 14 years ago, and his two buddies Chris (Anthony Mackie) and Isaac (Seth Rogen) stepped up to the plate to make sure he’d never be alone at Christmas, establishing an annual tradition of getting right ripped the night before.

This movie is really just a Christmassy version of Rogen’s usual raunchy fare, but it’s worth it just to see Rogen and New York City all dressed up for the holidays – he in a garish Jewish version of the ugly-Christmas-sweater.

Chris is a rising star and Isaac’s about to become a daddy, so they’re hoping that this will be the grand finale on their Christmas obligations; Ethan, however, is stuck, and much less inclined to let go.

Isaac’s very pregnant wife has bestowed him with the penultimate holiday gift: a treasure box filled with drugs. It’s his last chance to go hog wild screen-shot-2015-07-29-at-15-20-21before the baby, and this is Seth Rogen at his best: manic, sweaty, trippin balls, panicked, and awkward. This wires their adventure with the kind of wacky energy we want and need in a film that dares to ask: how much r-rated nastiness can we possibly cram into the holiest of days? And may I just say: how refreshing to see the wife encouraging her husband to spend time with his pals instead of the usual wet-blanket cliche.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is charming as always, but cursed to play it straight in this movie (except for his elf face, which may be worth your $12 ticket alone). Anthony Mackie is the charismatic one who pinballs between the straight arrow and the hot mess, clearly having fun with his strut.

This movie isn’t as laugh-out-loud funny as the trailer led me to believe. Some of the bits bog down the hijinks, but you never have to wait for long before the next chapter unfolds (my favourite bit being when Isaac attendsnightbefore3 midnight mass high as fuck – I may have accidentally punched Sean in the balls during that scene – may god, and Spencer, forgive me). This movie is both template-following in terms of Rogen stoner comedies, and refreshingly irreverent in terms of holiday fare: a weird mashup, but what else do you expect from a movie that worships both Run-DMC and Miley Cyrus?

 

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “The Night Before

  1. Sean

    I was hoping for a bit more from this movie but I didn’t leave disappointed. There were some good bits and it was worth watching. I totally agree that it was nice to see Isaac’s wife be supportive of the boys rather than an obstacle.

    Like

    Reply
  2. Brittani

    Great review! I’m really looking forward to seeing this. I have such a strong JGL bias I’ll love it no matter what, but I’ll set my expectations lower as every review seems to point out it’s not as hilarious as it could be.

    Like

    Reply
  3. SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

    Hahaha great review. This sounds like my type of holiday movie too. You definitely got me in interested to discover what JGL elf face is all about 😉 Every now and again Christmas movies deserve to get an R rated treatment.
    BTW, what’s your fave holiday movie? Mine is Christmas Story… the one with the BB gun. Oh and that French Canadian special li grew up on, The Dog Who Stopped the War.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
      1. SLIP/THROUGH - Dan

        Awesome, Jay! It’s so great, eh. Infinitely quotable too. “Fraj-ee-lay.” I heard the narration is almost pulled word for word from the book. Which is hilarious in itself. Does the book have even more stories?

        Like

  4. Birgit

    There is something about Seth Rogen I just want to….punch:) I usually like to see movies that are not politically correct (Love Bad Santa) but this one just doesn’t seem to appeal to me. It is a good review though and your review has placed this film higher in my to view list despite Seth Rogen

    Like

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Well I have a soft spot for Seth Rogen, but i definitely like to see him break out of the box a bit instead of always doing the same thing.
      I wasn’t a huge fan of Bad Santa but I heard they were making a sequel!

      Like

      Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      It is in some parts.
      The trailer was uproarious, and there’s just a lot more downtime in the actual movie. But it’s still enjoyable, still funny (as long as you know what you’re getting into with a very junkie Christmas)

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      That’s absurd!
      I mean, I’m not likely to wear a sweater even when it’s -40 here (and it will be), but still!
      Sean and I travel every December, for this birthday (and it’s almost yours too!). Sometimes we go down south, and I love seeing how Christmas translates when you don’t have snow. For us it’s just such a standard part of the picture. Hot chocolate by the fire…what’s your equivalent? Daiquiris by the barbecue? That sounds pretty rad.

      Like

      Reply
  5. Pingback: Love the Coopers | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

  6. Pingback: Canada 150 | ASSHOLES WATCHING MOVIES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s