Review: The Night Before

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The Night Before

Director: Jonathan Levine
Columbia Pictures
In Theaters: 11.20

At the stroke of midnight on Nov. 1, the Halloween decorations are put away and the Christmas lights come out. Don’t ask about Thanksgiving—Black Friday overtook it. With the holidays underway, the obligatory Christmas movies make their way onto the silver screen, but all are not the classic, family-friendly type of endeavor. In the vein of cult favorites like Bad Santa and A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, Jonathan Levine’s holiday adventure lets the children sleep all snug in their beds while the adults drink, smoke weed and get all screwed up in their heads. Ever since Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) lost his parents in a car accident, he and his two best friends, Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie), have made it an annual tradition to get annihilated on Christmas Eve, but, as adulthood and responsibilities arrive for Ethan’s counterparts, the tradition is coming to an end. This drunken shenanigan pays homage to just about every Christmas movie ever made. Yes, there’s even a Sticky Bandits reference from Home Alone 2. While there are plenty of solid laughs throughout, there are also many cheap gags and dated pranks that make you hope the trio take the film’s message to heart and make this the last time they perform in these types of films. The best part of the film comes with the brief time spent with Michael Shannon as a mysterious drug dealer with a message from the past, present and future. –Jimmy Martin