Ever felt you were the only person in the room laughing? That was me at the press show of The Night Before ***.
It stars Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon Levitt and Anthony Mackie (all his Christmas movies coming at once) as three bros whose Xmas Eve tradition is to get totally wasted, eat Chinese, do karaoke and try to get into the legendarily exclusive Nutcracker Ball, something they’ve never actually managed in 14 years of trying.
However, now they’re a bit more grown up, it’s time to put away all childish things and make this their last Xmas night. Rogen’s wife gives him a bunch of drugs for his last blow out before they have their baby. He does them all and is a total mess as the lads careen through the New York night in football star Mackie’s sponsored Red Bull limo.
Meanwhile struggling musician JGL is still mourning the break-up of his relationship with pretty Lizzy Kaplan, because he couldn’t commit.
Apart from the fact that I couldn’t really work out why these guys were friends at all in the first place, I thought this was cheeky, funny and as silly as it should be. They get wrecked, they sing Run DMC’s Christmas in Hollis as a lullaby to a baby, they get beaten up by Santas, jump on the piano at FAO Schwartz like Tom Hanks in Big; they do a Goodfellas thing by having dinner with Mackie’s Mom while waiting to score weed of Michael Shannon’s wigged-out dealer Mr Green and they will go to the ball, where James Franco and Miley Cyrus will cameo, amusingly.
There’s no point wanting this to be anything other than self-referential, indulgently stoned Xmas fun, which it is, referencing Elf, Die Hard, Home Alone and Bad Santa – i.e. all the good Christmas films. It’s not as good as a post-ironic take on the genre as Elf, for sure, but the banter is good enough that I’m sure some people will be quoting it for years to come. Rogen wears a Star of David Christmas jumper and ends up, off his face on shrooms and coke, bumping into his wife and her family as they’re going to Midnight Mass. He joins them but the hymns and the candles and the kneeling lead to him vomiting in the aisle and running out screaming “We did not kill Jesus…!”
I laughed. A lot. And I wasn’t even drunk or stoned. It just felt like it.