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Seth Rogen & Co. take on Christmas

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By Russell J. Oliver

December 8, 2015

Most Seth Rogen comedies are usually full of stoners who end up in comical hijinks they have to get themselves out of. Numerous Rogen-fueled movies have similar tropes, such as “Knocked Up” (2007) and “Pineapple Express” (2008). His new movie, “The Night Before,” doesn’t vary, but it does come with more Yuletide joy and Christmas flare.

Rogen stars as Isaac, along with Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Ethan and Anthony Mackie as Chris. Ethan’s parents died when he was young on Christmas Eve, which leads to a tradition of the trio of friends going out every year. As they grow older, this becomes difficult with Chris’ exploding athletic career and Isaac’s pregnant wife nearing her delivery date. Ethan agrees with them that this will be their final year.

Jillian Bell, best known for her role on “Workaholics” (2011-present), plays Betsy, Isaac’s wife. On their last Christmas Eve of going out, Betsy gives Isaac a box filled with different drugs so he and his friends can have one last crazy night together.

Of course, the trio runs into tons of crazy characters on their night out. Lizzy Caplan, from “Masters of Sex” (2013-present), plays Diana, who is a love interest to Ethan. Ilana Glazer, who plays one of the two queens from “Broad City” (2014-present), plays Rebecca, a girl with Grinch-like qualities. Notable stars such as Michael Shannon, Mindy Kaling and Miley Cyrus also encounter the boys on their night out on the town.

Ethan tries to keep the others focused on enjoying their last night out together, but Isaac keeps worrying about his family responsibilities and Chris is more concerned about his social media fans. After the trio has a few drinks and a couple of drugs, Isaac starts to freak out, even more so when he realizes he swapped phones with Mindy Kaling’s character.

Rogen, as the paranoid and eccentric Isaac, is the comedic highlight of the film. Isaac has numerous freak-outs throughout the night and his drug-induced anxious persona is hilarious to watch. At one point in the night, he has a vision into the future where his adult daughter is working as a stripper, while his wife, Betsy, shockingly eggs her on.

Eventually, Isaac runs away in a panic to find his phone and Chris runs away to catch Rebecca, who stole the gang’s weed. Ethan, angry at his friends, gets into a fight with two Santas.

The trio meets up again and argues about the distance that’s been created between them. This feels true to a lot of friendships that are struggling to stay intact when the life gets in the way. While the mishaps that take place during the night are over the top, the relationship between Ethan, Isaac, and Chris are accurate depictions of many friendships nowadays.

The gang forgives each other and reunites for one last party. Before the night is over, the film shows a flashback of Ethan on the night of his parents’ death. Isaac and Chris comfort him, convincing him to go out and enjoy their Christmas Eve together. The actors all play their younger selves, which sentimentally shows the viewer the beginning of this tradition.

“The Night Before” is definitely the kind of movie you should see in theaters with your best buds. The film was released nationwide on Nov. 20 and is currently playing in theaters.

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