The Night Before

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen and Anthony ­Mackie hit NYC in The Night Before.


THE NIGHT BEFORE (Jonathan Levine). 101 minutes. Opens Friday (November 20). See listings. Rating: NNN 


Reuniting the 50/50 team of Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and director Jonathan Levine (who pulls writing duty this time instead of Rogen), The Night Before is a pleasantly goofy exercise in Christmas debauchery. It may not be a new holiday classic, but it’s a good time for Xmas 2015. 

Three old friends – an expectant father (Rogen), a football star (Anthony Mackie) and a lost soul carrying crippling emotional baggage (Gordon-Levitt) – meet up for their traditional Christmas Eve jaunt through New York City. They’ve been doing this for more than a decade, but this will be their last go-round, and they all know it. 

Secrets are confronted, old flames rekindled and bonds challenged, much as you’d expect in a holiday movie – just with a lot more drug use and panicked swearing, mostly from Rogen’s overwhelmed Isaac. But every time The Night Before threatens to get really dopey, a new face pops up to get a laugh, or an emotional moment lands just a little harder than you’d expect.

That’s Levine’s strength: as in 50/50 and Warm Bodies, he grounds his outsized story in recognizable relationships between complex, flawed characters.

It’s just that these characters have Michael Shannon as their weed guy. 

Leave your opinion for the editor...We read everything!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *