Every year, the holidays bring about a strew of new, highly anticipated blockbusters. While most of them bring shock and awe to viewers everywhere, there are always a handful of Christmas themed movies that almost always disappoint. With typical story lines and a fake sense of cheer, they simply do not deliver. But this holiday season, the release of The Night Before brought hope to every pot smoker and twenty something who enjoyed comedic star Seth Rogen’s dim- witted humor alongside costars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Jillian Bell. For those who enjoy the holiday season, what could possibly be better than a goofy comedy combined with the Christmas spirit? Since the release of Elf, starring Will Ferrell in 2003, there has been nothing of its kind, until now.
The Night Before tells the story of three life long friends who celebrate Christmas every year by drinking their way through New York City bars in search of the ultimate Christmas party. With a baby on the way, Seth Rogen’s character, Isaac, decides that the crew has one last wild night before they settle down for good and begin their adult lives. The Night Before has the ability to appeal to almost any audience ranging from a love story between two distanced lovers, to the heartfelt bond of three emotionally damaged friends, to a drug fueled trip that brings laughs to anyone with a pulse.
Levitt was born for his role as Ethan. His typical sentimental, overly romantic character shines as he pursues a second chance at love from Diana (played by Lizzy Caplan), a previously failed relationship. Levitt’s loss and desperate attempts at love draws audiences in and causes one to root for his success. Rogen also plays his typical role, an overweight stoner who brings the laughs, but now he has a lot more responsibility on his plate with a wife (played by Jillian Bell) and a baby on the way. Isaac’s hilarious drug trip allows him to express his fear of being a father making him a more relatable and realistic character. Anthony Mackie, a new face in Hollywood, plays Chris Roberts, an average Joe turned NFL star. His attempts to make superficial jokes based on his newfound fame and desire to impress other NFL superstars causes his character to be outshone by Levitt and Rogen.
While some characters definitely surpass the roles of others, there is no denying the chemistry between the entire cast. This heartfelt comedy simply would not be the same if it weren’t for the ingenious casting done by director Jonathan Levine. The Night Before is the blend between naughty and nice that even Santa would approve of. So the next time you find yourself wanting to let loose from the stresses of holiday shopping and decorating the Christmas Tree, go see this sure to be timeless holiday film.