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The Night Before - Movie Review

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The Night Before - Movie Review

3 stars

Time to grab the ugly holiday sweaters and jot on over to the theater this weekend.  And if you're really in the spirit of festivities, smoke 'em if you got 'em because the Pineapple Express gang is making an extra special stop this year to deliver some holiday beer, er, cheer!

It’s the sentiment in the latest batch of pot-laced holiday cookies that will surprise the most in The Night Before.  While the coming-of-age story doesn’t aim for the moon with its antics, the strong performance from the cast proves that this gross-out comedy doesn’t have to.  Get in and get out and carry on with the holiday cheer while offending and entertaining everyone.

Written and directed by Jonathan Levine (The Wackness), The Night Before is a stoner buddy flick about growing the hell up and saying goodbye to juvenile traditions…in a really BIG way.  Getting old sucks.  For the characters in this flick, becoming an adult is even worse. 

Three close friends - Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth "I'm not ready to be a Dad!" Rogen and Anthony Mackie – come together one final time to say goodbye to their decade-old tradition of celebrating Christmas with wild antics and reckless abandon.  Because, after all, with wives and babies on the way and soaring careers, ain’t nobody got time for that. 

This troubled trio; however, decide to literally go out with a BANG in an epic night of high times.  If it is the last time, why play it safe?  From hilarious episodes involving mind-altering substances to losing one’s lunch in the holiest of places, nothing is sacred as Levine parades these three against a backdrop of hilarious cameos (Nathan Fielder is one) and familiar holiday cheer turned on its head. 

Not all of the jokes land, though.  And the whole Superbad angle – now with millennial-minded adults – might be a bit played out but that doesn’t keep the cast from delivering some super sweet moments that will, ultimately, make this flick one to return to each season.

It must be stated, though, that the highs of the movie would mean little to nothing without the creative talents of its female cast.  The women balance the absolute madness out and keep the picture from spiraling into pot-prompted hedonistic dementia all too quickly by swooping in with pragmatic logic to combat the raucous behavior of the men-boys.  Co-starring a hilarious Jillian Bell, Lizzy Caplan, Mindy Kaling, and Lorraine Toussaint, the dude-fest debauchery is healthily balanced by their charm and wit. 

And then there’s the heavy puff-puff presence of Mr. Green (Michael Shannon in another brilliant performance) whose wheeling and dealing introduces the gang to the joints of Christmas Past, Present, and – you get it – Christmas Future.  Yes, even Charles Dickens gets thrown into the THC-laced seasonal mix of Levine’s comedy.  Why not?

Santa’s got a new bag indeed. 

The Night Before - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for drug use and language throughout, some strong sexual content and graphic nudity.
101 mins
: Jonathan Levine
Jonathan Levine, Kyle Hunter
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Jillian Bell
: Comedy
Three wise men. One wild Christmas.
Columbia Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
November 25, 2015
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have been friends since childhood, and for a decade, their yearly Christmas Eve reunion has been an annual night of debauchery and hilarity. Now that they're entering adulthood, the tradition is coming to an end, and to make it as memorable as possible, they set out to find the Nutcracka Ball – the Holy Grail of Christmas parties.

No details available.

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