Christmas films of all sorts come and go every year with only a few of them standing out as something memorable. The latest unexpected holiday film, The Night Before features a great cast including Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Lizzy Caplan, Michael Shannon, and Mindy Kaling, but can this be one of those comedies that becomes a new tradition or will it be a bad high not worth remembering?
The Night Before follows four friends who have gathered together every year for a decade for their yearly Christmas Eve reunion that 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. Anyone that has seen the trailers already know that this film is not your average Christmas film, but the film goes even further outside the box in the best way possible. Sure there are some of the clichéd moments of holiday films here but they still take full advantage of the R rating. Rogen, Mackie and Levitt have great chemistry as friends and are clearly having a ton of fun with this film. Mackie has the swag needed to carry the famous friend and while his story arc seems a bit wasted at times, his constant pursuit of a girl that stole his weed is fun to watch. Levitt is the straight man here with the most clichéd story arc, but serves to be the anchor for the friends and their history together. The real fun here comes from Rogen who gets to cut lose spending the majority of the film tripping out on a variety of drugs. These are some of the best moments of the entire film and help to take the other storylines to a higher level. Of all the cast the real show stealer is Michael Shannon as the mysterious drug dealer Mr. Green. He has a lot more time in the film that one might expect and every scene is hilarious. He brings a twisted brilliance to the character that is so much more than a simple drug dealer and will have you laughing every time.
As with most Rogen films there are some great cameos and outrageous moments that the funs love. Some might find the film offensive or too over the top, but that it part of what makes this film so great. They pull no punches and take the classic Christmas formula and turn it on its head. While there is no way of saying this will surely be a new classic, but rest assured this film will cement its place in holiday history. If you are a fan of Rogen and his brand of humor or just great R rated fun then grab your sweater and fire up your yule log for some Christmas fun like never before.