Thursday, 19 November 2015 00:00

The Night Before Featured

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Review written by Jon Patch with 3 out of 4 paws

The Night Before

Columbia Pictures, Good Universe, LStar Capital and Point Grey Pictures present an R rated, 101 minute, Comedy, directed by Jonathan Levine, written by Levine and Kyle Hunter with a theater release date of November 20, 2015.


Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) have been best friends for a life time and in 2001 they made a yearly commitment to spend the night before Christmas together, drinking, singing, drugs and having an all-around crazy night together. One night in 2008 on the night before while in a bar wearing their holiday sweaters a woman walks in and mentions the Nutcracker Ball, the biggest and craziest party ever and from that point on Ethan has made it his challenge to find this Ball and attend it one year with his buddies.

Cut to the present time, Ethan got a hold of three tickets to the Nutcracker Ball and to celebrate their last night before he informs the guys of what’s in store for the evening. Ethan who is 33 and lonely, missing his last girlfriend Diana (Lizzy Caplan), Isaac, an attorney, married to Betsy (Jillian Bell), with a child on the way and Chris, #11 all-time sports player and loved by many are planning to celebrate their big night out for the last time. Betsy knowing it’s their last night out together has given Isaac an early Christmas present, a box of drugs to go party the night away. Ethan has contacted the phone number on the Nutcracker Ball tickets and is informed by 10pm that night he will receive instructions on where the party is located. Chris supplied the Red Bull limo so the guys can hit the streets to pre-celebrate before the actual Ball. Sweaters on and ready to celebrate they set out for a fun night, drinking, singing, eating and a call to Tommy Owens (Aaron Hill) by Chris to see what he was up too. In need of some weed the guys set out to meet with Mr. Green (Michael Shannon) the guy they know who is greener than anyone in town. First visit by Chris in Green’s car and everything is just a bit awkward even more so when he picks up a strange girl at the bar and proceeds to have his way with her. She makes out with a bit more than he bargained for.

Meanwhile Isaac is in his own little world thanks to that special present from his wife. Hitting more than he should Isaac is seeing much more than reality has intended for this father to be and after bumping into Sarah (Mindy Kaling) at the bar they share a bit more than life had intended giving Isaac his first ever hook up text, pictures and all. Let’s just say James Franco must have a little black in him! I know stereotype which is not always true! Sometime later after a conversation in a manger, a cursing church baby, vomit, a visit with Mr. Green and a whole lot of drugs Isaac is ready for the Ball. Chris has given up on getting his weed back from the strange bathroom girl and Ethan has a crazy encounter with 2 bad Santa’s.

Is it all worth the craziness in the end? Some may say yes and some may say no but as for Ethan who later at the Ball sings with Miley Cyrus and her wreaking ball he gets the answer from Diana to the question he knows he wanted to ask her for a long time. After the crucifixion of Tommy and the use of life’s current deadly weapon, the social media, Ethan meets up with Mr. Green on a rooftop only to discover his Christmas past, present and forever future. It seems to get harder to stay friends after you start getting older yet for these three coming home for Christmas has become a bit simpler yet more meaningful because they are finally growing up in their mid-thirties. As for the Great Gatsby himself, Mr. Green, is finally winging it and happy as are the 3 wise men from different walks of life.

The film is well directed and nicely written with a lot of cursing, some nudity, drugs and a little violence, enough to keep you laughing throughout this story. I actually have not seen my friend Matt laugh so much in a long time so that must be a good sign that this movie will do very well at the box office. There are some animals to be seen especially a large rat but that aside this story with its holiday theme that may offend several religions and people is quite crazy yet hysterical. I laughed and enjoyed it understanding that sometimes we just need to make fun of ourselves and our background yet throughout it all in the end it’s just a movie.

Some nice narration thanks to the voice of Tracy Morgan and a great cast of characters along with some wild situations will keep the word of mouth positive by the younger audience movie goers. Gordon-Levitt is spot on with his comedy and dramatic moments. Mackie is easy on the eyes and a bit more level headed than the other two except for his steroid use. Rogen is downright hysterical especially when he slides into the use of heavy narcotics although it seemed that he slid in and out to quickly at times. Bell is a delight; Caplan a good support as is Kaling but it is the band of the three male leads that catapults this film into a night of raunchy, in a good way, must experience hysterics.

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