NIGHT BEFORE, THE
(director/writer: Jonathan Levine; screenwriters: story by Jonathan Levine/Evan Goldberg/Kyle Hunter/Ariel Shaffir; cinematographer: Brandon Trost ; editor: Zene Baker; music:Marco Beltrami/Miles Hanskins; cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Ethan), Seth Rogen (Isaac), Anthony Mackie (Chris), Jillian Bell (Betsy), Michael Shannon (Mr. Green), Lizzy Caplan (Diana Lizzy), Mindy Kaling (Sarah), Ilana Glazer (Rebecca Grinch ), Helene Yorke (Cindy), Aaron Hill (Tommy Owens), Tracy Morgan (Narrator / Santa), James Franco (Himself), Miley Cyrus (Himself); Runtime: 101; MPAA Rating: R; producer: James Weaver/Evan Goldberg/Seth Rogen; Columbia Pictures; 2015)
“A raunchy but unfunny juvenile Christmas buddy comedy flick for the stoner crowd.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A raunchy but unfunny juvenile Christmas buddy comedy flick for the stoner crowd. Jonathan Levine (“Warm Bodies”/”50/50”) hits on the excesses of celebratory behavior, and navigates the slight story down a road of bawdy Jewish comedy shtick during the Christmas season. Levine wrote the zany script with Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir.
In NYC, on Christmas Eve of 2001, three lifelong pals, the black Chris (Anthony Mackie), the Jewish Ethan (Gordon-Levitt) and the Jewish Isaac (Seth Rogen), forged a tradition of partying together in nerdy sweaters on that day that has lasted for 14 years.
Isaac is a bombastic lawyer, married to the pregnant Betsy (Jillian Bell). Chris is a social media hound pro football player, and Ethan is a failed musician, who has become a slacker.
On their latest holiday gathering, which they announce as their last, Betsy provides hubby with a box of drugs, as we follow the trio partying and their quest to locate the great mysterious Christmas party that has eluded them over the years. Isaac is loopy on magic mushroom visions; the long-suffering Ethan, who lost his parents in a drunk driving car crash, tries to reunite with his ex-girlfriend, Diana (Lizzy Caplan); and the steroid user Chris obsesses over his new fame that draws a groupie (Ilana Glazer) to give him a quickie and then steal his stash intended for his quarterback (Aaron Hill).
That’s about it, as there are strained comical incidents in church at a Mass, at Rockefeller Center and at FAO Schwarz ‘s floor piano.
REVIEWED ON 5/11/2017 GRADE: C