The Night Before

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The Night Before

For the last 10 years three friends – Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) – have spent the night before Christmas partying hard to take Ethan’s mind off his dead parents. But now the others have different plans: Isaac has a wife and a baby on the way, and Chris’s steroid abuse has finally paid off in his sporting career. So for their final big night they’re going to go all out partying – especially as Ethan has scored tickets to the legendary Nutcracker Ball.
These days there’s really only two kinds of Christmas movies aimed at anyone over eight: sentimental stories that play things mostly straight (that’d be Love the Coopers), and comedies that have a little wacky fun with the season. Here “wacky” equals “erratic”, as for every funny scene (Isaac tripping balls, numerous comedy cameos) there’s one that’s a bit of a mess (Chris’ plot never really pays off) – but when you’ve got Michael Shannon playing a magical drug dealer, the pluses are always going to outweigh the minuses. Unlike the Christmas Run DMC track the guys sing at karaoke, this is never going to be a holiday classic, but there’s still a bunch of fun to be had.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris